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trvlr70 Jan 5, 2007 9:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lukecuj (Post 2548320)
what the.....

United to start Springfield-Washington flights
Service will be subsidized if demand not high enough(AP) — United Airlines will offer service between the Illinois capital and the nation's capital under a deal that could require taxpayer subsidies.

The United Express flights between Springfield and Washington are to start April 27. If there is enough demand for United to make money, it will cost taxpayers nothing.

But officials have agreed to pay up to $1.4 million in tax and business money to support the flights if necessary.
"It's going to take strong community support. It's a large commitment from the community that you usually don't see," said Frank Vala, chairman of the Springfield Airport Authority.

The Airport Authority has pledged up to $800,000, and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce promises $200,000. A federal grant of $390,000 would cover the rest.

Despite the strings attached to the venture, supporters said providing direct flights to Washington is worth it.

"We now have a niche that no other Central Illinois airport has," said Gary Plummer, chamber of commerce president and CEO.

Ticket costs have not been determined. While the airport is gaining service to Dulles International Airport outside Washington, one of its five existing United Express flights to Chicago will be cut.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Isn't the St Louis airport like 90 minutes away anyway?

It makes sense that the capital of our nation's fifth most populous state has a direct flight to D.C.....but, I bet it won't last long. The ones who make that route are in private planes.

nomarandlee Jan 7, 2007 5:13 AM

from wiki....


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SkyValue

On January 4, 2007, SkyValue USA announced that their service from Gary was such a success that their schedule will become year-round. Also, the same announcement indicated that additional routes are to be expected soon.

bnk Jan 11, 2007 2:11 AM

:previous:

I am wondering if this cost overrun will be concidered a check against the 2016 olympic bid.:shrug:

I hope not.

Chicago Shawn Jan 18, 2007 12:45 AM

"The costs are spiraling out of control and the airlines say they won't pay for it anymore," said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson.

"It's finally time that people say we have made a mistake. Let's go for a viable modernization of O'Hare that is affordable, effective and does not destroy communities around the airport."

Attorneys for the O'Hare opponents filed a motion Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., challenging FAA funding for the expansion. Citing the airlines' rejection of more bonding by Chicago, the motion rebuts the city's statements to the court that it can make up any shortfall in federally approved funding by simply issuing more bonds.




This guy has major diarrhea of the mouth, it just doesn't stop. Just shut the fuck up Craig, you and your band of Chicago foes are the cause of the delays and cost overruns. You are making this cost more than it has to, and even with the cost increase, its still cheaper than your half-baked Peotone plan, and the O'Hare project still will use no tax dollars.

Destroy communities? I guess that targeted plot of 14 acres of Elk Grove Industrial Park must be sitting over an oil well or a gold mine. I bet you won't complain about all the revenue from new Hotels and commercial buildings that will spring up along the new western access highway. Time to jump off the hyperbole train Craig, you already missed the stop at exaggeration station.

honte Jan 18, 2007 4:21 AM

^ Ha!

MayorOfChicago Jan 18, 2007 7:33 PM

^ That's hilarious! Exaggeration station.

It's so true though. I feel bad for these people in those two towns, but there are over 9 million people in Chicagoland, and millions more who use O'hare as a layover. Sometimes you just have to realize that you and your neighbors are getting some major inconvinences in life - but at the greater good of all the people in the region. Life is life, no one is doing it to you on purpose. They act like the city has just been waiting for a reason to go "destroy" their communities.

nomarandlee Jan 20, 2007 1:04 AM

From OMP website......


http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/w...inCategoryOID=


December 2006 Construction Update

Five years after the June 29, 2001 announcement by Mayor Richard M. Daley of his bold vision to build a 21st century airport at O’Hare, the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) has received federal approval, funding is in place, and construction is ongoing on both the North and South Airfields.


2006 marked the first full year of construction for the OMP. By year’s end contractors moved nearly 3.7 million cubic yards of dirt, placed more than 5,200 linear feet of concrete box culverts to relocate a creek and poured 41,000 square yards of concrete for taxiways on the South Airfield.


13 construction projects, worth a total of $559 million, have been awarded on the North and South Airfields thus far. In 2007, the OMP will advertise up to another $1 billion in additional construction work.



Construction



Site preparation continues for all three OMP Phase 1 runway projects- new Runway 9L-27R, the extension of Runway 10L-28R and the relocation of Runway 10C-28C. New Runway 9L-27R and the extension of Runway 10L-28R are scheduled for completion in November 2008. In 2006, the OMP welcomed Federal Aviation Administrator Marion C. Blakey and Maria Cino, US Deputy Secretary of Transportation, as each visited Chicago and toured the OMP’s construction progress.


On November 27, 2006, the OMP broke ground on a new North Air Traffic Control Tower, as construction crews began drilling concrete caissons for the foundation of the tower. When complete, the NATCT will stand at an overall height of 255 feet.




“Construction on this project, as well as for the entire OMP, will continue throughout the winter as weather conditions permit,” said Rosemarie S. Andolino, OMP Executive Director. Walsh Construction Co. is the construction contractor for the NATCT.


Before construction on the air traffic control tower could begin, a portion of an American Airlines employee parking lot needed to be relocated. In August, Pan Oceanic Engineering Co., a certified MBE firm, finished the parking lot relocation project ahead of schedule and under budget.




A second construction project completed ahead of schedule and under budget was the Runway 14L Threshold Displacement. Aldridge Electric Co. wrapped up this project in November.


“Displacing the Runway 14L threshold was important because it allowed us to ‘move the fence’ and make the construction site for new Runway 9L-27R entirely landside, instead of airside, thereby minimizing the impact of construction to existing airport operations,” commented Andolino.





NORTH AIRFIELD UPDATE


Construction projects already awarded and under construction on the North Airfield include:


* Runway 9L-27R Site Preparation


* Relocation of Mt. Prospect Rd. and Guard Post 1


* NSWJAWA Watermain Relocation


* NSWJAWA Watermain "Hot Tap"


* Airfield Vaults and Associated Duct Banks


* North Air Traffic Control Tower


* American Airlines Parking Lot Relocation (Project completed on August 18, 2006)


* Runway 14L-32R Threshold Displacement (Project completed on November 2, 2006)




Contractors have moved more than 1.9 million cubic yards of dirt on the North Airfield since construction commenced in 2005.

SOUTH AIRFIELD UPDATE


Construction projects already awarded and under construction in the South Airfield include:


* Runway 10C-28C Berms 5 & 6 Relocation and Runway 10L Site Preparation


* South Detention Basin Site Preparation


* Runway 10C-28C Mass Grading (East)


* Runway 10L Mass Grading


* Airfield Vaults and Associated Duct Banks


OMP contractors have moved more than 1.75 million cubic yards of dirt on the South Airfield since the onset of construction in 2005.




Land Acquisition


Land acquisition activities continued to advance, as the OMP surpassed the 58 percent mark for acquired properties in the Village of Bensenville. By the end of December, the OMP acquired 359 of the 611 parcels slated for acquisition in Bensenville.




Litigation


The OMP marked another court victory that moves the program one step closer to being able to implement the entire project. In August, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals rejected the legal challenges to the FAA’s Record of Decision approving the City’s preferred Airport Layout Plan and the Letter of Intent to provide federal funding for O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP) construction.




The City of Chicago is currently awaiting a ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on the City’s ability to acquire and relocate St. Johannes Cemetery.




Community Outreach


The OMP maintained its aggressive community outreach to inform interested contractors about the program. The OMP hosted two contractor open houses in 2006, attended by more than 700 contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. The May 2006 Contractor Open House included the participation of eight local and state agencies such as the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Housing Authority, Department of Aviation, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Tollway and others.




In November, the OMP and the Department of Aviation co-sponsored the first Aviation and Construction Industry Job Fair, where contractors working at O’Hare, Midway or the OMP in a number of professions met with interested job seekers. More than 600 people attended the job fair.

Sustainable Initiatives


The OMP continued its commitment to sustainability. In January, the OMP joined Mayor Daley, DuPage County and Forest Preserve officials to announce significant wetlands mitigation. The OMP will have an impact on 69 acres of low-quality, inaccessible wetlands within DuPage County. The City has provided DuPage County nearly $11 million to create and maintain 90 acres of new, high-quality, publicly accessible wetlands within the DuPage County West Branch Forest Preserve.




“The new wetlands will act as a natural filter that helps improve water quality and reduce water treatment costs,” said Andolino. And they will increase biodiversity by supporting new plants, fish and other animals,” Andolino added.




The O’Hare Modernization Program received the City of Chicago Greenworks “Green Practices” Award and the United States Green Building Council Chicago Chapter’s “Small Feet/Large Feat” award for its Sustainable Design Manual, a nationally-recognized document created in 2003 to incorporate sustainable initiatives on this project.




“The OMP has proudly embraced Mayor Richard M. Daley’s “green” vision by incorporating sustainable ideas on this project of national significance,” said Rosemarie S. Andolino, OMP Executive Director. “By doing so, we have made O’Hare the benchmark for environmental stewardship in design and construction for a civil project.”




The City of Chicago Greenworks “Green Practices” award highlights the creative ways that companies and organizations are meeting their bottom line while being environmentally proactive.




The USGBC Chicago Chapter’s “Small Feet/Large Feat” award recognizes an individual or organization that notably advances an idea that improves or restores the environment, discovers and imitates a process in nature or averts a negative impact on nature.



Three years after creating the Sustainable Design Manual, a total of 13 OMP construction projects have been evaluated. Among our accomplishments:



* Required the use of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel (ULSD) for on- and off-road construction vehicles greater than 50 hp. Our ULSD requirement for off-road vehicles was in place five years ahead of the federal mandate;


* Equipped all but the newest construction vehicles with particulate traps and oxidation catalysts;


* Recycled 90 percent of the materials from building demolitions;


* Mandated that trucks conveying materials leave the site covered;


* Restricted idling of construction vehicles;


* Building green roofs on the South Airfield Lighting Control Vault, the canopy of the relocated Guard Post 1 and the base building of the new North Airport Traffic Control Tower;


* Keeping as much dirt on site as possible to reduce construction traffic on local roadways. In fact, designers have elevated the new runway ends in order to store excess dirt underneath; and


* Provided more than $44 million to replace 154 acres of low quality, inaccessible wetlands currently on Airport property with nearly 450 acres of higher quality wetlands within the Des Plaines Watershed




About the O’Hare Modernization Program


The O’Hare Modernization Program, approved by the federal government in September 2005, will reconfigure O’Hare’s outdated intersecting runway configuration into a modern parallel configuration, substantially reducing delays and increasing capacity. The OMP will create up to 195,000 new jobs and add an additional $18 billion in annual economic activity to the region without the use of any state or local taxpayer dollars.

VivaLFuego Jan 31, 2007 10:56 PM

^ Yeah, how dare they try to relocate a cemetary. I mean, it's a real travesty Lincoln Park was built.

Lady, if your house is almost paid off, why not use the cash bonanza the city will pay you (probably several times what you paid for the house 20-some years ago) and just buy a new house for cash?

forumly_chgoman Feb 2, 2007 11:42 PM

^^^^You know what I gotta say to this douche bag is get out of your god#$%* car and frickin take the train, you schlub!

Rail Claimore Feb 4, 2007 12:38 AM

Karaganis is conning them out of even more money. So not only will they lose their homes, they'll be in debt again paying attorney's fees even with all the money Chicago will be giving them. Being emotional is never smart, especially when it can be so easily played upon.

Rail Claimore Feb 10, 2007 9:35 PM

** Deleted for copyright infringement **

- Dylan Leblanc

spyguy Feb 19, 2007 3:08 PM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

Inside Chicago's plan to get you to O'Hare

Tribune columnist Jon Hilkevitch has an exclusive look at the city's ambitious ideas to improve airport access


Published February 19, 2007

Chicago is pushing a new plan aimed at improving roadway access to O'Hare International Airport, where driving to and from the terminals is like going through the world's busiest cul-de-sac.

The ambitious initiative includes widening the main airport road, Interstate Highway 190, and building a new Mannheim Road over I-190, complete with a flyover ramp feeding traffic to the Tri-State Tollway (Interstate Highway 294).

In addition, the airport transit system, or People Mover trains, would be modernized. Twenty-four new People Mover cars would be added to the current 15-car fleet to meet future shuttle demand between the airline terminals and remote parking areas, city aviation officials said. Of the current 15 cars, 12 are in active use with three held in reserve.

The People Mover tracks ultimately would be extended to serve a new remote parking garage near economy parking lot F, officials said.

Ideas to relieve roadway choke points and improve safety for vehicles using the airport have been talked about for more than 20 years, but they ultimately reached a dead end.

"This is the first roadway overhaul at O'Hare since--forever," said Chicago Aviation Commissioner Nuria Fernandez, adding that I-190 has one of the highest traffic volumes per lane of any road in the nation. The number of passengers using O'Hare has increased nearly eightfold since the early 1960s.

Fernandez said the project to upgrade ground transportation around O'Hare is equally as important as city plans to build new runways--a program that has a separate ground transportation component.

"In the past we have suffered from a lack of combined vision--the city and the airlines--as it relates to what is necessary to provide the right entrance, the right front door to the airport," Fernandez said.

The city is applying to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval to use $207 million in future airline passenger ticket taxes to help pay for some of the design work on the massive project, which has not yet received federal or state funding.

The $117 million needed for the roadway project and $90 million for the People Mover enhancements would come from a $3 tax imposed on airline tickets. Total construction costs are yet to be determined, officials said.

Necessary city funding tentatively is estimated at $91 million, according to records, although the city contribution is expected to increase as the numbers are firmed up.

Drivers to O'Hare say the roadway changes cannot happen soon enough.

"The unpredictability factor on I-190 is the worst part," said Jeff Kedrowski of Hinsdale, a security consultant who takes his wife to and from O'Hare at least five times a month.

"It's not uncommon for us to get from our house to near the airport in 20 minutes, only for it to take another 30 minutes on Monday mornings or Friday nights to get to the terminals," he said.

The People Mover has not been upgraded since the system was completed in 1993. Passenger waiting times at stations have increased and the trains are often overcrowded.

"Passenger complaints to the carriers have increased and at times the [international terminal] escalators have been closed due to passenger surges, which result in fire code violations" when the number of people exceeds the maximum allowed on the platform, according to the city's funding application to the FAA.

Preliminary engineering and planning are under way between the city and the Illinois Department of Transportation to move the project forward. Part of the passenger ticket taxes the city wants to use will go toward reimbursing IDOT for initial design work.

The goal is to complete the road improvements by 2020 to head off projected gridlock on the airport roads, Fernandez said. Airport departure traffic on I-190 is expected to increase by as much as 60 percent by 2020, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

The airport road improvements are considered an interim step. They would mesh with longer-range plans to build a western-access road into O'Hare, extend CTA and Metra rail transit and add parking on the western side of the airport in connection with the city's $15 billion runway-expansion program.

In addition to adding lanes and ramps on I-190 to handle and distribute traffic more manageably, another project component includes extending Balmoral Drive so it connects between Bessie Coleman Drive at O'Hare's international terminal and the village of Rosemont. The strategy is to provide an alternative reliever road to and from the airport, to take some of the pressure off I-190.

The Balmoral extension route would replace the ramp from Coleman onto southbound Mannheim. A bell-shaped bridge would cross over Mannheim and connect to Balmoral. Officials said the bridge allows for future expansion of the international terminal, construction of an eventual sixth airline terminal, and expansion of People Mover structures.

The proposal also includes building a new Canadian National Railroad bridge over I-190; replacing city water mains and other infrastructure under I-190; and relocating a water pumping station.

The airlines serving O'Hare are expected to file comments to the FAA on the city's road-improvement plan by the end of the month.

Over the years, the airline industry generally has shown limited interest in airport capital improvements not directly related to increasing flight capacity or streamlining airline efficiency.

City officials believe such an attitude is shortsighted. But the airlines' track record is one reason Chicago is seeking FAA permission to use passenger ticket taxes for the early phase of the roadway project, instead of requesting airline approval to issue new airline-backed general airport revenue bonds.

"It has been an interesting dialogue with the airlines regarding this project," Fernandez said.

"That's the reason we are pursuing [passenger ticket tax] funds, so we can get it going.

"The bottom line is that you cannot parachute people into O'Hare," she said.

nomarandlee Mar 15, 2007 11:10 AM

No surprise: Hudson keeps O'Hare shops
 
Ok, really just news to use as an excuse to bump this thread which was feeling neglected....


http://www.suntimes.com/business/297...hare15.article

No surprise: Hudson keeps O'Hare shops

March 15, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter

The first open competition in a decade for lucrative news and gift shop concessions at O'Hare Airport ended Wednesday -- with a seven-year extension for the incumbent.
The new concession contract for Hudson News and Gifts comes as no surprise to competitors.


From the beginning, they had argued that the way the bid was structured gave Hudson the inside track.

Instead of inviting competition by dividing the news and gift shop concession into smaller, more manageable bites, the Daley administration put all 25 locations into a single package against the advice of its concessions manager. Together, those 15 stores and 10 kiosks generate $41.3 million in annual revenues.

"One company can win: the incumbent. It stinks so bad, it's unbelievable," a competitor, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Chicago Sun-Times when the competition began nearly a year ago.

At a news conference after the meeting, Aviation Commissioner Nuria Fernandez argued that Hudson's contract was "not a renewal, truly" because the company bought out W.H. Smith in December 2003.

"Hudson has now competed based on their own merits and they were the highest bid. So, we've selected them" from a field of six, she said.

The competition that ended Wednesday was the first since a controversial deal brokered by former mayoral pal Oscar D'Angelo put two friends of Maggie Daley in business at O'Hare.

The newspaper reported that D'Angelo, an unregistered lobbyist, collected at least $480,000 to broker a lucrative, 10-year contract extension for British bookseller W.H. Smith in a 1996 deal that also put two friends of the mayor's wife in business: Economic Club President Grace Barry and public relations maven Barbara Burrell.

Three years later, Barry sold her 49 percent interest in the company, known as Grabur, to Burrell. The sale from Barry to Burrell was disclosed as a City Council committee approved the ownership transfer from W.H. Smith to a subsidiary of Hudson Media Inc.

Hudson inherited Smith's partnership with Burrell. Burrell now has "no association with Hudson News that we are aware of," according to Aviation Department spokeswoman Wendy Abrams. Burrell could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Also awarded O'Hare concessions were such Chicago favorites as Garrett Popcorn Shops (two locations); Barbara's Bookstore (five stores); Auntie Anne's Pretzel's (two) and Nuts on Clark (two).

Chicago2020 Mar 21, 2007 7:02 PM

Does anyone have pictures of the new and improved Terminal 2???????

nomarandlee Apr 6, 2007 5:13 AM

City eyes ticket-tax revenue to buy O'Hare expansion land
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

City eyes ticket-tax revenue to buy O'Hare expansion land

By Richard Wronski
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 5, 2007, 7:56 PM CDT

Chicago officials say the city is running out of money to buy land for expansion of O'Hare International Airport and will seek federal approval to use $270 million in passenger ticket-tax revenue that the airlines say should be spent improving airport facilities, documents show.

O'Hare airlines oppose the idea, saying ticket taxes should not be used to cover land acquisition cost overruns.

The rift between the city and the airlines was disclosed in documents filed as part of the city's request to the Federal Aviation Administration, whose approval is required to use the ticket tax to buy land.

In a transcript of a January meeting with airline representatives, city aviation officials concede that a shortage of funds has forced them to slow land acquisition for the expansion. The city has acknowledged that the project is already $400 million over budget.

The city originally estimated it would cost $6.6 billion to modernize O'Hare. The project entails a major realignment of runways and acquisition of hundreds of homes, businesses and parkland in Bensenville and Elk Grove Village. It also will require relocating St. Johannes Cemetery's approximately 1,600 graves.

Bensenville and Elk Grove Village have long battled the expansion project, calling it a land grab and criticizing its funding. "This is a major illustration again that the pots of money the city is counting on aren't going to be there," said Joseph Karaganis, an attorney for those communities.

But Michael Boland, first deputy director of the project, said, "I strongly disagree with that. I think the city has identified a funding shortfall, disclosed it, identified a source of revenue and has a solution."

Boland said use of ticket-tax revenue for the land acquisition is appropriate. He pointed to comments by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey in January that the agency would look favorably on the city's request.

Blakey called the use of the ticket tax "a great way to raise revenue."

Previously, the airlines rejected Chicago's request to sell $500 million more in general airport revenue bonds for O'Hare expansion and capital projects. Doing so would have made the airlines liable for higher landing fees, rents and other charges the city would need to retire the debt.

At the Jan. 24 meeting, representatives of the air carriers pointedly questioned Department of Aviation officials about the project's financing.

When asked during the meeting about progress of the land acquisition, Boland outlined the need for the additional $270 million and acknowledged that land purchases have slowed so the city would not run out of money before July.

"So right now, land acquisition activities have been not suspended but slowed down to accommodate that scheduling [and] reduce the expenditures," Boland said, according to the transcript.

As of March 30, the city had acquired 389 of 611 parcels of land in Bensenville and needs to acquire five parcels in Elk Grove Village, according to the Department of Aviation.

Boland also tried to assure the airlines that the $270 million could safely be brought forward from the "contingency side" of the project's second phase while keeping the entire project on target.

Responded Mike Wesche of American Airlines: "It seems to me that if we are $270 million over on land acquisition … I'm not sure I understand how we can say that the overall … budget is still intact."

In their filings with the city, the airlines said they considered the city's request to be an increase in the budget for land acquisition.

The $270 million in ticket-tax revenue sought by the city, when compared with the original $381.7 million budgeted for land acquisition, amounts to approximately a 70 percent increase in a single budget-line item, United Airlines said.

Using ticket-tax revenue to acquire land would be "imprudent" in light of "other critical infrastructure and other capital needs" at O'Hare, wrote Sandra Widerborg, a United official and chairwoman of a committee representing the airlines. It could result in the money "being wasted if the city cannot identify the additional funding required to complete Phase 1 of the project," United said.

The airlines said the city should consider other funding alternatives and identify other ways to reduce the project's costs to bring them in line with the approved budget.

"We believe the city should take a more comprehensive approach in addressing [O'Hare modernization] funding and other capital requirements at [O'Hare]," United said.

When the city formally files its request, the FAA will consider all comments and will decide based on who makes the most "solid, logical argument as opposed to who is saying it," FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said Thursday.

rwronski@tribune.com



Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

nomarandlee Apr 8, 2007 8:38 PM

Over the years American/United have seemed to be very luke warm on expansion (at least ones that would lead to more eventual gates). Obviously they both enjoy the monopoly they have on O'Hare. If full expansion (including new terminals) were introduced to O'Hare they may have to face eventual competition from Southwest, Jetblue, or even have another legacy try to establish O'Hare as a focus city given O'Hare's prime continental position.

They likely can only be counted long term to support measures that streamline their operations and flights and want to limit major expansion.

Marcu Apr 16, 2007 3:01 PM

** Deleted for copyright infringement **

- Dylan Leblanc

Rail Claimore Apr 17, 2007 5:57 AM

^It makes some sense. The outer two runways are the main factors in bringing delays down at O'Hare. The future 9C and 10C runways are for added capacity in the future, particularly with larger planes like the A380... mainly because those two runways will be 200' wide. Currently, only 14R has that width and that's one of the two runways planned for decommission.

Honestly, I've always thought that while a full out expansion at O'Hare is needed, it would be smart to keep the 14/32 pair and instead eliminate the 4/22 pair instead.

And if they decide not to build future 9C and 10C, future 9R and 10L should be widened to 200' accordingly.

nomarandlee Apr 20, 2007 3:10 AM

New O'Hare expressway in state's 5-year highway plan
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...l=chi-news-hed

New O'Hare expressway in state's 5-year highway plan

By Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune transportation reporter
Published April 19, 2007, 2:25 PM CDT

State highway officials today unveiled a five-year program that envisions engineering and land acquisition for a long-awaited extension of the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway to O'Hare International Airport, additional lanes for Interstate Highway 55 in the southwest suburbs and other projects across Illinois.

Program details were announced in Springfield by Acting Secretary Milt Sees of the Illinois Department of Transportation. Sees described the program as a "maintenance" budget focused on maintaining the existing highway system.

"This is pretty much a stay-the-course program," Sees said. "Three-fourths of the funding will go to maintaining roads and bridges, and about one-fourth will be directed at expansion and congestion relief."

About 45 percent of the budgeted $10.9 billion to be spent through 2013 would go toward work in the Chicago region, Sees said, and about 55 percent elsewhere in the state. The amount is $400 million more than called for last year.

To generate an additional $3 billion for bonds to pay for new construction, Sees called on the General Assembly to approve Gov. Rod Blagjevich's proposal for a gross receipts tax on business revenues. Most of the state's business interests oppose the proposed tax.

Sees warned that without passage of a new capital improvement program for state highways, roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate. He said the rising cost of steel, asphalt, concrete and other construction materials "doesn't paint a very healthy picture" and limits the state's ability to add new projects to the road program.

IDOT's program calls for improving nearly 4,200 miles of roads and replacing or rehabilitating 957 bridges. It includes continued funding for the reconstruction of 8 ½ miles of the Dan Ryan Expressway on Chicago's South Side.

A total of $169.7 million is designated for preliminary design work and land acquisition for an 11-mile extension of the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway from its present, eastern end at Interstate Highway 290 in Itasca to the planned Ring Road on the west side of O'Hare. The proposed western access to the airport is a key part of the city's O'Hare expansion plan.

Money also is earmarked for adding lanes, widening and resurfacing 14 ½ miles of Interstate 55 near Joliet in southwest suburban Will County, and for resurfacing 9.6 miles of the Bishop Ford Freeway (Interstate Highway 94) on Chicago's South Side and in south suburban Cook County.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.



Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Marcu Apr 20, 2007 5:50 AM

Quote:

About 45 percent of the budgeted $10.9 billion to be spent through 2013 would go toward work in the Chicago region, Sees said, and about 55 percent elsewhere in the state. The amount is $400 million more than called for last year
Nice to see the area with 70% of the state's population and the worst congestion getting 45% of the money.


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