I visit a.net often, and either missed this news or it never got posted. I did a search, but nothing was found. Sorry if this is a dead issue.
For Immediate Release:
August 6, 2003
Mayor's Press Office
GOV. BLAGOJEVICH SIGNS O'HARE AIRPORT MODERNIZATION BILL; PROJECT MEANS THOUSANDS OF
ILLINOIS, MAYOR DALEY SAYS
Hails Team Effort in Passing Bill to Upgrade Airport
Mayor Richard M. Daley joined Gov. Rod Blagojevich and business and civic leaders today as the Governor signed legislation authorizing the O'Hare Modernization Program.
The project will create 195,000 new jobs for the people of Illinois and maintain Chicago's position as the aviation crossroads of the Northern Hemisphere, Daley said at a ceremony at the airport.
The modernization program includes reconfigured runways; improved road access, including western access; new terminals; additional parking; and the closing of two northwest-southeast runways.
It will be financed through fees paid by airport users and not through local or state taxes.
Daley noted that the modernized O'Hare will reduce delays; save money for passengers and airlines; make it easier for travelers to get to and from Chicago; and generate $18 billion of annual economic activity on top of the more than $38 billion it generates today.
"And, best of all," he said, "it will create 195,000 new jobs for the hard-working people of the State of Illinois. Thousands of construction workers will be needed to build the airport. Then we're looking at thousands of jobs in the hospitality industry – at airport concessions, in hotels and restaurants, at McCormick Place and in all the other businesses that are devoted to serving tourists and business travelers.
"And we can expect to see thousands of new jobs with the national and international companies that are attracted to Chicago because our airport enables them to move people and goods around the world quickly and efficiently."
"The expansion of O'Hare doesn't just affect Chicago or northern Illinois or just benefit one or two carriers," Gov. Blagojevich said. "The legislation I'm proud to sign today benefits the entire state of Illinois. The modernization of O'Hare will help to spur our state's economy, create nearly 200,000 jobs, reduce travel delays, and retain Illinois' preeminence as a world-class transportation center.
"Many from government – federal, state, and local – labor, business, and the aviation community worked together in a bipartisan and visionary way to make sure that O'Hare airport would continue to grow and prosper," the Governor continued. "But Mayor Daley deserves special recognition for his tireless efforts, perseverance and leadership on getting us to this momentous point."
The Mayor praised Gov. Blagojevich for his consistent support of the O'Hare project since his days as a member of Congress.
"Governor Blagojevich, when you sign the O'Hare Modernization Bill in a few minutes, you will be telling the world that Chicago and Illinois intend to maintain their national leadership in the field of transportation and aviation," Daley said.
The Mayor also thanked House Speaker Dennis Hastert, U.S. Rep. Bill Lipinski, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and other members of Congress who supported the project, along with members of the Illinois General Assembly, including House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, Senate President Emil Jones Jr., Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson and House Minority Leader Tom Cross.
He also praised Cook County Board President John Stroger, DuPage County Board President Robert Schillerstrom and leaders of the business community, organized labor, community organizations and suburban governments who worked for passage of the bill.
"This was truly a team effort – business and labor; city, suburbs and Downstate; Republicans and Democrats working together to create new jobs and new opportunity for the people of Illinois," he said.
The legislation enables the project to proceed as efficiently as possible, consistent with federal safety and environmental reviews. It states the General Assembly's intent that "all agencies of this State and its subdivisions shall facilitate the efficient and expeditious completion" of the O'Hare project.
O'Hare modernization is expected to reduce overall delays by 79 percent, saving an estimated $370 million for the airline industry and $380 million for its customers.
An agreement between the City and the airlines has secured $2.9 billion dollars of funding to build the first phase of the project. The first phase represents more than 60 percent of the airfield work that needs to be done to fully modernize O'Hare. It begins the project in a way that ensures its ultimate completion.
The mayor urged the state's Congressional delegation to help obtain the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration, the last remaining step before construction can begin.
At one time weren't they going to scale back expansion due to the airlines problems. It appears that everything is full steam ahead. Does this include the additional terminal w/ tram on the western side of ORD
? What is the time frame for all this? Somewhere I read possibly 2008?