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Chicago Takes Next Step Towards O’Hare to Downtown High-Speed Rail Link

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The city will need to conduct a cost analysis and finance the line's construction before the plan can become a reality

Flickr Creative Commons/Eden Politte

Two weeks ago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his administration’s intention of linking Chicago’s downtown and O’Hare International Airport by way of a new high-speed express rail service. Originally championed by predecessor Richard M. Daley, Emanuel offered few details regarding the plan, stating that it would first require an engineering and feasibility report. According to Crain’s Greg Hinz, it is now know that the the city has selected firm WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff to conduct the first phase of the study.

Perhaps not too surprising of a choice, the Montreal-based engineering company has a history of partnering with the City of Chicago. The firm served as construction manager on the O’Hare Modernization Program and has experience working on large-scale rail projects across the globe. WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff will present their findings on the O’Hare express train to the city at a yet-to-be-announced time later this year.

The next phase of the process involves the City of Chicago coming up with a plan to finance the potentially multi-billion dollar project. The city is hopeful that a private operator selected to run the new train line will also largely bankroll its construction. Emanuel reaffirmed that his plan would call for no money from Chicago taxpayers but has not ruled out seeking assistance from O’Hare funding which is paid by travelers and the airlines.

·O'Hare express rail project takes another step forward [Crain's]

·Chicago Exploring High-Speed O'Hare to Downtown Rail Link [Curbed Chicago]

·Chicago Transportation archives [Curbed Chicago]