February 9, 2017

Mayor Emanuel Announces 60,000 Jobs Created Under Building A New Chicago, With 40,000 More Planned During Next Phase Of The Infrastructure Strategy

Chicago Poised to Continue Investing in Infrastructure with planning underway on express rail to O'Hare and a new Green Line station on the City's near west side

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that the City has created 60,000 new jobs under Building a New Chicago. The Mayor first unveiled the comprehensive infrastructure strategy in 2012 as a plan to repair the City’s aging infrastructure, which has resulted in new runways, roads, schools, streetscapes, parks, playgrounds, bridge, buildings and more.

“These investments in our infrastructure are about much more than steel and concrete. When we invest to build a new Chicago, we are putting people from Chicago’s communities to work in Chicago’s communities. That’s how we will continue building the future our city.” said Mayor Emanuel during an address at the Laborers’ District Council.

During the address, the Mayor highlighted major accomplishments that came from the Building a New Chicago plan; while setting an ambitious agenda for the future that would create an additional 40,000 jobs for projects the City will start over the next three years like express rail to O’Hare International Airport and a new Green Line station at Damen and Lake on the City’s near west side.

The Mayor announced that the City is taking the next step to create the O’Hare Express Rail Service by retaining Bob Rivkin, former general counsel at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Rivkin has been retained to provide legal expertise in identifying a clear path forward and working with potential partners.

The Express Rail project will connect the Chicago Business District and O'Hare International Airport, and is a part of the larger O'Hare 21 Program.

“Connecting the economic engine of our central business district with the economic engine of O’Hare will pay dividends for generations. And an aviation system that allows you to get anywhere in the world, at any time of day, any day of the week will also pay dividends for generations,” added Mayor Emanuel.

The City has been and will continue working with the engineering and design firm WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff to evaluate potential routes; the most effective location for stations and the viability and cost of the overall project.

Similar express rail systems are available in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Toronto.

Since Mayor Emanuel took office in 2011, 16 new passenger carriers have launched routes from Chicago to several cities in the Middle East, China, South America and Europe, and existing carriers have expanded service to many new destinations. These new flights have generated more than $2.8 billion in annual economic activity for the Chicago region.

Earlier today, the Mayor also announced plans for a brand-new CTA station on the Green Line at Damen Avenue.

The new station will fill a 1.1 mile gap between existing Green Line stations at California and Ashland, to better serve the near west side community that has seen notable residential and commercial growth in recent years.

The new station will improve public transit options for businesses in the Kinzie Corridor, visitors to the United Center, and nearby residents, including tenants of the Chicago Housing Authority's Villages of Westhaven complex.

The new station builds on the series of major investments in the City’s transit system under Mayor Emanuel’s watch. Since 2011, more than 40 CTA stations have been rebuilt or received major renovations—more than 30 percent of the CTA system. That total includes signature station projects at 95th Street and Wilson on the Red Line, and a new ‘L’ station at Washington and Wabash that will serve as a gateway to Millennium Park and the east Loop.

Additional accomplishments under Building a New Chicago have included:

  • The opening of two new runways at O’Hare in the last three years
  • The construction of 108 miles of protected bike lanes
  • The creation of the City's Project Coordination Office that has saved taxpayers $72 million by partnering with the utilities to schedule projects simultaneously
  • The repaving of more than 1600 miles of arterial and residential streets and alleys
  • The replacement of over 500 miles of old water mains
  • The rebuilding of 325 neighborhood pocket playgrounds