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Officials celebrate updates to O’Hare terminal


(The Center Square) – Elected officials are celebrating the latest round of construction at O’Hare International Airport.

Both U.S. senators from Illinois joined Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to break ground on O’Hare’s Terminal Three improvement project. The estimated $300 million upgrade includes $90 million in federal tax funds.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, credited President Joe Biden with creating the largest infrastructure bill in U.S. history.

“It’s a little bit inconvenient driving the Kennedy [Expressway] or tollways or other places because of all the construction, but it’s an investment in the future that had to be made and is being made,” Durbin said.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Schaumburg, said she is committed to expanding O’Hare, even if more taxpayer dollars are needed.

“We need to see the full 25% expansion of the gate capacity that everyone agreed to in 2018. If it takes more federal money to make that happen, our delegation is going to keep working to secure it,” Duckworth said.

The construction project includes reconfigured security screenings and baggage claims, expanded accessibility for passengers with disabilities and added amenities.

Durbin said $90 million for the project comes from two federal grants.

“You know this incredible federal support makes sense, because Chicago and O’Hare are an integral part of the global transportation network,” Johnson said.

The total cost of the terminal project is estimated at $300 million. In addition to federal money, the mayor’s office said the work will be paid for by airline rates and other charges.