The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a Letter of Intent (LOI) to provide $410 million toward funding the completion phase of the O’Hare Modernization Program, Mayor Richard M. Daley, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced today at a news conference held at O’Hare International Airport.
The funding will be used for construction of three OMP Completion Phase runway projects: new runway 9C-27C, new runway 10R-28L and the extension of runway 9R-27L. These projects are estimated to create about 13,000 jobs.
“This is a very substantial investment that shows how strongly the federal government supports the O’Hare Modernization Program,” said Mayor Daley. “During these tough times, completing the OMP is more important than ever.
Its efficient operation is essential to our ability to compete in the new economy that emerges from the recession and to make Chicago the kind of place where people want to live, work and raise a family.”
“The O’Hare Modernization Program is the largest airport reconstruction project in U.S. history. It’s fitting that the federal commitment is similarly historic. The funding we’re announcing today, along with the FAA’s commitment of $337 million in 2005, brings the total federal support to $747 million, which is the largest federal investment in an airport reconstruction project in history,” said Senator Durbin. “With this funding, we will be able to reduce delays, increase capacity and boost operations and safety at one of the busiest airports in the world, all while putting people to work right here in Chicago in jobs that pay well. This investment will help keep Chicago competitive in the global economy and move us closer to making O’Hare the busiest, biggest and safest airport in the world.”
"I want to thank the federal government for their continued support of the O'Hare Modernization Program," said Governor Quinn. "O'Hare has served as a national air hub since its opening in 1955, and this federal funding will ensure that we will remain one of the country's busiest airports. The development of new runways will not only increase O'Hare's capacity and decrease flight delays, it will also create hundreds of good jobs for Illinois workers."
O’Hare and Midway International Airports generate nearly $45 billion in economic activity and 540,000 jobs. The full build-out of the OMP will create up to 195,000 new jobs and add $18 billion to the region’s economy, without using local or state taxpayer dollars.
To date, more than 12,000 construction jobs and about 550 design jobs have been created to do OMP work and three major infrastructure projects – O’Hare’s first new runway since 1971, a new air traffic control tower and an extension to O’Hare’s busiest runway. All three projects opened on or ahead of schedule, and nearly $40 million under budget.
When the OMP is completed, O’Hare will have eight runways. Six will be east-west parallel runways and two crosswind runways, delays will be reduced from more than 20 minutes to less than 6 minutes and capacity for an additional 300,000 flights a year will be added.
The OMP has become internationally known for excellence in sustainable airport design and construction.
Funding for the OMP comes from traditional sources including General Airport Revenue Bonds, federal Airport Improvement Program discretionary and entitlement funds and Passenger Facility Charges.
The project has previously received a $300 million federal Letter of Intent for Phase One work and in February, 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the use of $182 million in Passenger Facility Charges collected at O’Hare for design of OMP Completion Phase projects.
“I want to thank Secretary LaHood, the Federal Aviation Administration, Senator Durbin, Congressman Jerry Costello and the other members of the Illinois Congressional delegation for this vote of confidence in a plan that is as important to the nation’s air transportation system as it is to our economy,” said Daley. “The OMP is ready to usher in a new era for air travelers at O’Hare. It keeps businesses thriving, residents working and our economy growing despite these tough economic times.”
“This funding and the continued and firm support we have received from the Department of Transportation demonstrates that the federal government recognizes the tremendous benefits the OMP has already, and will continue to deliver,” said Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation.
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