$7.2 billion infrastructure program launched in Chicago

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has launched “Build a New Chicago,” a $7.2 billion infrastructure program that would create 30,000 jobs throughout the next three years, according to a Chicago-Sun Times report.

As part of the program, Emanuel is urging major airlines to negotiate a fourth runway at Chicago O’Hare airport. This negotiation is part or a larger repackaged infrastructure plan that would: eliminate 26 miles of slow zones on the CTA’s Blue Line during the next 10 years; renovate more than 100 Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)  stations; build a new [El] Green Line station connecting McCormick Place to Motor Row, and launch an ambitious bus rapid transit plan on the South Side and in the Central Business District, according to the Sun-Times report.

Emanuel’s announcement of this initiative came on March 30, the same day that the House and Senate passed a 60-day extension of Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFTEA-LU), the latest transportation bill, which was enacted on Aug. 10, 2005 and expired on Sept. 30, 2009.

“I’m announcing this when we have everything secure on the very day Washington is doing a 60-day extension on the highway bill,” the mayor told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The last highway bill was 2005. I can’t let the city be held hostage to that dysfunction.”