CHICAGO (WBBM) — With an eye toward increasing safety and decreasing delays, the federal government will provide money to design a third air traffic control tower at O’Hare International Airport.

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the Obama administration will provide $3.5 million to design the tower and is committed to providing more federal money to build it.

“This tower is critical to safety; it’s critical to departure and landing of airplanes,” LaHood said on Monday. “If we have this tower, we will continue to work on problems of delays … in and out of the airport.”

Over the years, O’Hare has ranked among the worst in the nation in terms of on-time departures and arrivals—although there has been improvement in recent months.

Mayor Daley said the new tower is key to ongoing plans to expand O’Hare and economic development in the region.

The agreement will allow Chicago to complete the construction of the tower in time for the successful commissioning of the new, southern runway, which is scheduled for completion in early 2015.