Reports: City Negotiating $8.5 Billion Deal To Expand O’Hare Terminals

CHICAGO (CBS) — A huge deal to overhaul O’Hare International Airport is in the works, and reportedly near completion.

Terminal renovations, more gates, and new concourses are all part of the $8.5 billion agreement being negotiated between the city and the airlines.

According to published reports, the project would include tearing down Terminal 2 and replacing it with a new Global Terminal with wider concourses and additional gates for international flights.

Terminals 1, 3, and 5 also would be renovated, two new satellite concourses would be built west of the current terminals and connected to the Global Terminal by an underground pedestrian tunnel.

“This is, literally, a once in a lifetime moment to, literally, leapfrog the competition and become, in the United States, the gold standard of what a modern aviation system looks like,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Overall, the number of gates at O’Hare would increase from 185 to 220, and 3.1 million square feet of new terminal space would be added – a 72 percent increase.

No taxpayer dollars would be used for the project.

Published reports state the city is seeking higher fees from major airlines like United and American as their current 35-year-lease is set to expire in May. The city would borrow against those future airline fees to pay for construction of the terminal overhaul.

The project also would include a new Customs and Border Patrol center and new TSA screening stations.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel could formally introduce the deal as soon as the next City Council meeting on Wednesday.

The project would take eight years, with completion scheduled for 2026.

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