On Friday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the U.S. Department of Transportation has approved a $292-million federal loan for the project under a provision of the 1998 Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act. The rule provides credit assistance for infrastructure projects of national or regional significance.
Remaining funding will derive from airport bonds and a $8-per-day tax on car rentals the city imposed in 2010, clearing the way for a spring construction start for the three-year project.
When completed, the facility will contain nearly 4,100 rental car parking spaces and 2,000 public parking spaces while consolidating all rental car companies at O'Hare under a single roof. Plans also call for extending a light-rail line to link O'Hare to rental cars, public parking, public roadways and city and regional commuter lines.
The city estimates the project will eliminate 1.3 million vehicle trips on terminal roadways each year, resulting in energy savings sufficient to power more 600 homes on an annual basis.
The facility will “provide a more operationally efficient and sustainable facility, spurring economic growth and building upon efforts to make O’Hare the most convenient international hub in the world,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel indicated earlier this summer.