CHICAGO (CBS) — A City Council committee has signed off on construction of a new $2 million facility at O’Hare International Airport to help get flowers, pharmaceuticals, and produce to market fresher and faster.

WBBM Newsradio’s Craig Dellimore reports Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino told the Aviation Committee the city wants to convert an existing building near the International Terminal into a refrigerated perishable cargo center.

Andolino said the facility would allow flowers, food, and other goods to be flown to Chicago, and be within one day’s trucking distance to much of the country.

“We’re taking one of our facilities that has been underutilized, and now we’re programming it, working in collaboration with industry experts, who responded to a competitive process, to actually bring flowers into O’Hare to increase their life expectancy, as well as get the product to market faster,” she told reporters after the committee signed off on the plan.

Right now, Miami handles about 85 percent of flowers imported to the U.S., but faces a four-day trucking transport time to much of the country afterward, according to Andolino.

“Chicago has approximately 1 percent. This allows us now to create the infrastructure, the partnership, and the job training, the development to actually grow that field here,” she said.

The city will provide $500,000 in prep work for the new facility at O’Hare as it grows this new venture.

The Aviation Committee voted to endorse the plan on Monday, and the full City Council could vote on the proposal on Wednesday.

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