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O'Hare International Airport to Receive $50M in Grants

Tue March 14, 2023 - Midwest Edition #6
Office of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot


Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot announced Feb. 27 that O'Hare International Airport will receive $50M in Airport Terminal Program grant funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — the largest such grant this year for any airport in America — which will upgrade customer amenities, improve security screening and expand accessibility for passengers with disabilities at Terminal 3.

"O'Hare is one of the busiest airports in the world, with millions of travelers passing through every year," said Lightfoot. "This investment is critical for improving accessibility, safety and energy efficiency at Terminal 3, and it complements the CDA's ongoing efforts to modernize and expand O'Hare. Due to the Biden-Harris Administration's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we will be better equipped to meet the rebounding travel demand and ensure our residents and visitors have one of the best passenger experiences in the world."

Planned upgrades at Terminal 3 that will be financed by this federal grant include eligible work related to:

  • Reconfiguration of TSA checkpoint, providing space for modern and more efficient screening equipment;
  • An expanded passenger corridor between Concourse K and Concourse L, tripling the current corridor's width;
  • Expansion of the holdroom space at Gates K1 and L2A, improving the passenger experience;
  • Approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of new concessions and amenity spaces;
  • Upgrades to the terminal's baggage facilities and systems;
  • Renovated restrooms and a new family restroom; and
  • Other renovations of the terminal's interior and exterior structures and systems, which will improve overall energy efficiency.

"Terminal 3 is an iconic piece of Chicago infrastructure that must remain a key part of the nation's aviation system for decades to come," said Jamie. L. Rhee, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), which owns and operates both O'Hare and Midway international airports.

The estimated $200 million project at Terminal 3 is a component of O'Hare 21, Chicago's vision for a 21st century airport. The balance of the Terminal 3 upgrade will be paid for by previously allocated federal funds and airline rates and charges. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer and will be undertaken in phases to minimize disruption to terminal operations during construction, with an anticipated completion date of 2025.

"Chicago O'Hare International Airport is an important hub in American's global network and we are thrilled that today's announcement includes much-needed improvements to Terminal 3," said Nate Gatten, American Airlines' chief government affairs officer. "This project will enhance the travel experience for our loyal customers who choose to fly to and from ORD, as well as those connecting from throughout the world."

A key component of the grant request is the CDA's commitment to employment, education, and training opportunities for individuals from historically disadvantaged communities. This includes the O'Hare Bid and Resource Center, which will partner with local community-based organizations to offer resources in disinvested Chicago communities, hosting career expos and establishing an internship partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

Additional O'Hare 21 construction work continues to progress. In January, Mayor Lightfoot formally opened the newly renovated and expanded Terminal 5, which includes 10 new gates, expanded dining and retail locations and a new Delta Sky Club lounge. Construction work also continues on a new, six-story parking garage for Terminal 5, which will more than double the amount of available parking at the terminal and expand capacity to offer a mix of short- and long-term parking options, like those available at the airport's main terminals. The Terminal 5 development was named "Public Project of the Year" by the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA), which noted the CDA's "out-of-the-box thinking" on diversity and inclusion for the project.

And last fall, the CDA received final approval from the FAA to proceed with construction on the central component of O'Hare 21, the Terminal Area Plan. This includes construction of two new satellite concourses and the new O'Hare Global Terminal, which will ultimately replace Terminal 2, the airport's oldest facility. In cooperation with its airline partners, the CDA continues to examine federal funding for all elements of the O'Hare 21 capital plan.

Preparatory work on the satellite concourses is scheduled to begin this spring.

For more information, visit ord21.com.




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