September 24, 2013

Mayor Emanuel, US Transportation Secretary Foxx and Illinois Senators Durbin and Kirk Announce $92 Million in Funding for Partners for New Taxiway Project as Part of O'Hare Modernization Program

$10 million in grant funding from FAA, $78 million from O’Hare airlines and $3.5 million from Chicago Department of Aviation

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Secretary Foxx and Senators Durbin and Kirk of Illinois announced today that Chicago O'Hare International Airport is receiving nearly $92 million in infrastructure investment funding enabling the construction of the Lima Lima Taxiway Project, providing greater operational efficiency and flexibility at O’Hare.  This $92 million infrastructure investment was made possible by a $10 million Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and O’Hare’s airline partners, including United and American, who have committed $78.4 million in funding to complete the Lima Lima Taxiway Project with the remaining $3.5 million funded from passenger facility charges at O’Hare.

“I want to thank Transportation Secretary Foxx, U.S. Senators Durbin and Kirk and our airline partners for their leadership and support in prioritizing this funding for critical improvements to Chicago’s global gateway, O’Hare International Airport,” said Mayor Emanuel. “O'Hare is a key driver of Chicago's economy and through strategic federal and private investment in this project and others at O’Hare we are driving economic growth and job creation, while ensuring that O’Hare is at the forefront of efficiency and productivity.”

“The Obama Administration is committed to transportation investments like the improvements to O'Hare's runways that will enhance safety and help travelers get where they need to go faster and more efficiently,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “When completed, the taxiway project will improve mobility around one of the world's busiest airports, benefitting airlines and travelers moving throughout the country.”

As part of the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), Taxiway Lima Lima will provide greater operational flexibility to certain currently congested sections of airfield traffic, allowing for multiple departure queues from Runways 28R and 28C and at all times providing more efficient aircraft flow in both directions north of Runway 10L-28R.

Similarly, with construction of Runway 10C-28C to be opened on October 17th of this year and the expected completion of runway 10R-28L in 2015, Taxiway Lima Lima will better facilitate aircraft movements to and from the south airfield runways. Design will commence this fall and construction is expected to start in late summer of 2014 with an expected completion in 2016.

This project includes an approximate 725-foot taxiway located south of O’Hare’s domestic terminal core; taxiway connectors between; and related enabling projects including the relocation of American Airlines Ground Support Equipment facility.

"O'Hare Airport is a crucial economic engine for northern Illinois,” Senator Kirk (R-Ill.) said. “These funds will help keep the O'Hare Modernization Program on schedule and support efforts to retake the title of the nation's busiest airport.”

“The federal government has invested a total of $747 million to expand and modernize O’Hare International Airport. Today’s additional funding, in combination with a significant contribution from the airlines, will help create jobs and keep the project on track,” Senator Durbin (D-Ill.) said.  “As the largest airport reconstruction project in history, the O’Hare Modernization Program is a worthy investment that will pay dividends for years to come.  I want to thank Transportation Secretary Foxx, Mayor Emanuel and Senator Kirk for their efforts to keep Chicago’s transportation system one of the safest and most efficient in the world.”

“United and American continue to support a demand-driven approach to the O’Hare Modernization program, and thank the U.S. DOT for providing partial funding for the construction of taxiway Lima Lima.  This new taxiway will improve operational efficiency for the runways that have already been constructed,” said Kate Gebo, United Airlines Vice President of Corporate Real Estate. “With this $78.4 million in funding for the taxiway, the airlines at O’Hare have now invested more than $2.2 Billion in O’Hare modernization.” 

The OMP is currently the largest airport construction project in the U.S. The $8 billion program is transforming O’Hare’s airfield into a modern, parallel runway configuration with eight runways: six east-west parallel runways and two crosswind runways.  Once complete, the OMP will create up to 195,000 new jobs and add an additional $18 billion to our region’s economy.