O'Hare express train in the news... again, USA Today, Aug 20, 2010

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has revived talks for a possible express train that would connect Chicago O'Hare to downtown Chicago. The Associated Press reports Daley on Wednesday announced that he's forming a committee to study the idea.

ABC 7 of Chicago says the committee, "which includes members from the transportation sector, business community, construction industry and organized labor, will look into financing the project and potential routes."

The Chicago Tribune writes "the goal of offering world-class airport express service could lead to the completion of a costly hole in the ground below Block 37 in the heart of the downtown. That's where the city and the CTA [transit authority] have sunk more than $250 million to construct the initial phase of a subway 'super station'' that was to have served as the hub for nonstop rail service to O'Hare and Midway Airport."

CBS 2 notes "the Block 37 mall opened last year, but the superstation did not. It was abandoned in 2008 for an indefinite period after an estimated $250 million had been spent on it," according to CBS 2, which adds costs associated with the project include "an estimated $100 million [in] cost overruns" and $50 million in mothball costs.

As for the latest effort, Daley is quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times as saying: "There's already interest by private investment funds, foreign investment funds. They've come to see me, I'll be very frank, talking about this. That's exciting." Businessman Lester Crown, who will head the committee, adds if the project can't be done with private funds, it won't be done, according to the Sun-Times.

Chicago Public Radio quotes Mayor Daley as saying: "We're going to look at all options. That doesn't mean - maybe at the end we won't get it, but at least this group is looking at all options."

"But," Chicago Public Radio adds, "details are still lacking," such as exactly how tracks would be upgraded to accommodate the train.

Stay tuned …

From USA Today Posted Aug 20 2010 9:52AM