The majority of the capital investment at MDW
highlighted by Mayor Emmanuel at yesterday's Chicago City Council meeting appears to be fairly standard maintenance and asset renewal/replacement expenditures. Of the $1.1 billion cited in the Mayor's statement, $400 million has been received majority-in-interest approval in accordance with the terms of the lease (see Exhibit N within Exhibit A of the document presented at the city council meeting). Major items on the list and a rough categorization as follows:
$175 million -- residentail sound insulation and noise mitigation (environmental)
$90 million -- rental car facility (expansionary)
$17 million -- property acquisition
Additionally, there are several pavement maintenance, rehabilitiation, and replacement projects and many miscellaneous maintenance and asset replacement projects. Presumably there are several expansionary projects in the yet-to-be-defined $700 million that is forecast over the period for which the lease is valid (01 January 2013 - 31 December 2027) that would include rumored security checkpoint expansion.
While $1.1 billion sounds like a very large sum, the age and condition of the terminal facilities at many airports in the USA will require substantial investments to renew and rehabilitate expensive and unexciting elements of infrastructure, such as terminal mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and airfield pavements. What seems like a lot of money may only include a few "interesting and exciting" expansion projects, particularly for the many airports nationwide where growth has disappeared.
The lease agreements are publicly available as part of the official record of the city council meeting, along with the agenda, public notice, and (in time) meeting minutes.