Press

Mayor Announces Company Selected to Build & Operate Express Service to O’Hare

Mayor’s Press Office,

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced selection of The Boring Company to build and operate an express service to O’Hare International Airport. The company plans to transport passengers between O’Hare and Block 37 in the Loop in approximately 12 minutes each way by utilizing electric vehicles that run through new twin underground tunnels. The project will be funded entirely by the company with no taxpayer subsidy.

“Bringing Chicago’s economic engines closer together will keep the city on the cutting edge of progress, create thousands of good-paying jobs and strengthen our great city for future generations,” Mayor Emanuel said. “This transformative project will help Chicago write the next chapter in our legacy of innovation and invention.”

The Boring Company was one of two final teams selected to respond to a Request for Proposals issued in March by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT), on behalf of the City of Chicago. The RFP was seeking a respondent to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an O’Hare Express service. The City will now begin one-on-one contract negotiations with The Boring Company. Following this negotiation process the agreement will be presented to the City Council.

“We’re really excited to work with the Mayor and the City to bring this new high-speed public transportation system to Chicago,” Boring Company Founder Elon Musk said.

The RFP required bidders to deliver express service from downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in 20 minutes or less, cutting more than 50 percent off current travel times. The Boring Company plans to reduce the trip even further to 12 minutes by utilizing automated vehicles that travel over 100 miles-per-hour.

Each vehicle will carry up to 16 passengers, plus their luggage, and will depart from O’Hare and from Block 37 as frequently as every 30 seconds. The Boring Company plans to charge fares below the RFP requirement that this premium service should cost less than current taxi and ride-share services.

The company plans to utilize the unfinished underground transit station at Block 37 and create a new station at O’Hare. The planned route travels straight northwest from downtown following public way alignments. The specific alignment will be finalized during contract negotiation.

The City requires the O’Hare Express service be funded solely by project-specific revenues and financed entirely by the developer. No taxpayer funding will go towards the project.

During the negotiation phase, the company will be required to further develop its plans and ensure they meet all necessary safety, construction, financing and operating requirements. The contract will also include protections to ensure taxpayers would be protected against any costs incurred by an incomplete project. The overall project costs and construction timeline will be finalized during this process.

The express service will offer a myriad of benefits to the City, travelers and residents: providing a faster commute between the airport and downtown; helping to mitigate congestion on the region’s roadways; fostering economic growth and creating jobs throughout the lifetime of the project. The current total daily number of air passengers traveling between O’Hare and the Chicago Central Business District is approximately 20,000 and is forecast to grow to at least 35,000 daily air passengers in 2045. The express service will also be a zero-emission system, replacing automobile traffic on a congested highway and generating a significant positive environmental impact.

When combined with the upcoming expansion that will increase O’Hare’s gate capacity by 25 percent and the CTA’s $492 million investment in modernizing the Blue Line, the express service project will generate an unprecedented strengthening of Chicago’s position as a global city.

Mayor Emanuel Announces Next Steps Towards Express Service Between O’Hare & Downtown

Two Respondents Selected to Compete to Deliver Express Service to O’Hare Airport with No Public Subsidy

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the selection of two teams to proceed with competing to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the O’Hare Express operating system. The Boring Company and O’Hare Xpress LLC will be eligible to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will be issued on Friday by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT). The project aims to deliver express service from downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in 20 minutes or less, cutting more than 50 percent off current travel times.

“Strengthening connections between Chicago’s economic engines will drive our economy into the future, build on the city’s legacy of innovation and pay dividends for generations to come,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Today, we have two teams that have the ability to get the job done and create an express connection between downtown Chicago and O’Hare Airport without a taxpayer subsidy.”

The CIT, on behalf of the City of Chicago, selected the two respondents to proceed to the next phase of the procurement process based on their qualifications and ability to deliver the critical project with no public subsidy. The Boring Company and O’Hare Xpress LLC (Meridiam, Antarctica Capital, JLC Infrastructure, Mott MacDonald and First Transit) are two of the four entities that responded to a Request for Qualification (RFQ) that was issued late last year. Responses to the RFP will be due on May 18, 2018.

“Of the submissions received, these two teams represent the best potential partners to deliver this express service, which will be a key part of Chicago’s continued economic growth, “Chicago Treasurer and CIT Chair Kurt Summers said. “The CIT’s role as a specialized resource to the City focused on infrastructure financing and development involvement makes it the clear choice to take a lead as we seek a partner for this truly transformative and historic project.”

The RFP specifies that the O’Hare Express Service should include a downtown station, an ORD station as well as maintenance facilities. Travel corridors may be above or below ground. Service level goals are travel times of 20 minutes or less with service frequency of at least every 15 minutes for the majority of the day. Premium service fares must be reasonable and less than the cost of current taxi and ride-share services. Any proposal must also address how potential impacts on existing transportation systems and the environment would be avoided or minimized.

Although cost estimates for the project are not yet known, the RFQ and RFP clearly stipulate that the O’Hare Express Service will be funded solely by project-specific revenues (like fares or advertising) and financed entirely by the developer. At this point in the competitive process additional information about the bids will not be released.

The express service stands to offer a myriad of benefits to the City, travelers, and residents: providing a faster commute between the airport and downtown; helping to mitigate congestion on the region’s roadways; fostering economic growth, and creating jobs throughout the lifetime of the project. The current total daily number or air passengers traveling between ORD and the Chicago Central Business District is approximately 20,000 and is forecast to grow to at least 35,000 daily air passengers in 2045.

For more information visit www.chicagoinfrastructure.org.

Mayor Emanuel Takes Next Step Towards Express Service Between O’Hare & Downtown

RFQ to be issued for proposals to develop, design, equip, finance, operate and maintain express travel option; no taxpayer funding will support the project

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the City of Chicago, in coordination with the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for respondents to present their qualifications to design, build, finance, operate and maintain an O’Hare Express operating system through a public-private agreement with the City. The project aims to deliver express service that would take 20 minutes or less to travel from downtown Chicago to O’Hare International Airport (ORD), cutting more than 50 percent off current travel times.

“Express service to and from O’Hare will give Chicagoans and visitors to our great city more options, faster travel times, and build on Chicago’s competitive advantage as a global hub of tourism, transportation and trade,” said Mayor Emanuel. “More than a century ago, Daniel Burnham encouraged Chicago to ‘make no little plans,’ and today Chicagoans continue to make big and bold plans with an eye towards the future. Strengthening connections between the economic engines of downtown Chicago and O’Hare airport, at no cost to taxpayers, will build on Chicago’s legacy of innovation and pay dividends for generations to come.”

The RFQ will be issued today and is the next step to create a fast and convenient travel option for travelers to travel directly from ORD to downtown Chicago, following analysis from a working group formed last year to determine the feasibility of such a project. The working group studied demand for ridership, potential terminal locations as well as possible routes and alignments. Following the working group’s review, the RFQ will be issued to determine private sector interest in construction and operation.

The RFQ specifies that the O’Hare Express Service should include a downtown station, an ORD station and one maintenance facility. The City and CIT will consider potential corridors that are above or below surface level. Goals of the project include travel times of 20 minutes or less with a reliable service frequency of at least every 15 minutes for the majority of the day with reasonable premium service fares less than the cost of current taxi and ride-share services. Any proposal must also address how potential conflicts or impacts on existing transportation systems and the environment would be avoided or minimized.

Although cost estimates for the project are not yet known, the RFQ stipulates that the O’Hare Express Service will be funded solely by project-specific revenues (like fares or advertising) and financed entirely by the concessionaire. There will be no taxpayer funding for the project.

The City and CIT intend to select one or more respondents that they consider most qualified to successfully respond to a subsequent Request for Proposals (RFP) to be issued by the City and the CIT. RFQ responses are due on January 24, 2018.

“The CIT’s involvement in this transformative project is perfectly suited to our purpose to act as a specialized resource to the City focused on infrastructure financing and development,” said Chicago Treasurer and CIT Chair Kurt Summers. “We look forward to reviewing the proposals and continuing to move this important project forward.”

The express service stands to offer a myriad of benefits to the City, travelers, and residents: providing a faster commute from the airport to downtown and vice versa; helping to mitigate congestion on the region’s roadways; and fostering economic growth and creating jobs throughout the lifetime of the project. The current total daily number or air passengers traveling between ORD and the Chicago Central Business District is approximately 20,000 and is forecast to grow to at least 35,000 daily air passengers in 2045.

The RFQ and additional information will be available at www.chicagoinfrastructure.org.

Mayor Announces Major Step Towards Construction Of Public Safety Training Academy

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a major step towards construction of the new Public Safety Training Academy in West Garfield Park. This week the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) in coordination with the City of Chicago will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the design, construction and financing of the new 30-acre training campus on the West Side. The consolidated centralized training academy will improve interagency collaboration in emergency response, and emphasize hands-on tactical training in real-world situations.

“This academy will ensure Chicago’s public safety officials have the best tools, technology and training to best serve Chicago’s residents,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Today we are moving forward with the process to build it, making a major investment in West Garfield Park and in public safety for every neighborhood in Chicago.”

The new campus will include indoor and outdoor training spaces that both extend the current training capabilities of the Police and Fire Departments as well as offer more joint-training opportunities. The state of the art training campus will include two buildings, employee parking and an outdoor training area with key functions like indoor shooting range, diving pool, conventional classrooms, conference rooms, administrative offices, auditorium, practice range and fitness facilities. The site will also include specialized simulation facilities for active scenario training, ranging from buildings, to CTA train cars, to city streets. It will also have a driving training pad and modular units for scenario base training as well as space for Fire Department extraction training, high-rise operations, search-and-rescue, and confined space rescue training.

Together, these features will ensure the new training academy will not only improve interagency collaboration in emergency response, but also expand the capacity for first responders to receive specialized hands-on tactical training in real-world situations.

“This moves us a step closer to a combined facility that will proved not only classroom study but has the space and infrastructure to do highly realistic scenarios for both police and fire,” Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said.

“Training is at the heart of keeping our police officers safe, reducing gun violence, and improving our service to the city,” CPD First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro said. “The new Public Safety Training Academy will help us to better prepare Chicago police officers to safely and professionally handle the wide variety of situations they may face. I would like to thank Mayor Emanuel and the City Council for their ongoing support of CPD and helping us to be a better agency for every Chicagoan, including our officers.”

The RFQ for Design-Build-Finance entities will be issued this week; responses are due at 4 P.M. CST on Nov. 20, 2017. A copy of the RFQ will be available for download at www.ChicagoInfrastructure.org. A pre-submittal conference and networking event will be held at the Garfield Park Conservatory at 10 A.M. on October 25th.

“I enthusiastically support this project, which will be a definite win-win for the city’s diverse west side communities,” Alderman Emma Mitts (37th) said. “It will provide a strong economic investment, creating jobs and expanding resources in the 37th Ward, while increasing public safety for residents in every part of Chicago. I look forward to getting started and breaking ground.”

The move is the latest by the Emanuel administration to improve local neighborhoods through innovative partnerships. In February, the Mayor announced 2FM headquarters would move from West Town to Englewood (69th and Wentworth Ave.), along with 200 jobs. The new facility will be funded in part by proceeds from the sale of the site on N. Throop Street. Additionally, a new branch library on the Near West Side and a new fire station on the Near North Side are being planned through public-private partnerships with local developers. Last week the Mayor announced the City Colleges of Chicago is accepting bids for its downtown headquarters building in preparation for a move closer to its students in the neighborhoods.

The estimated cost for the proposed Public Safety Training Academy, including land acquisition, is $95 million. A portion of the Project funding will be from the sale of city-owned land at 1685 N. Throop St. Following a competitive bidding process, the City has reached a tentative agreement to sell the 18-acre site to local developer Sterling Bay for $104.7 million, or $133.53 per square foot. Closing is expected to occur later this year. At least $20 million of the sale of 1685 N. Throop St. will go towards the Public Safety Training Academy, which will support design and construction of the new academy.

Mayor Emanuel Announces Release of Request For Proposals to Build New Fleet & Facility Management Headquarters In Englewood

State-of-the-Art New Facility Will be Funded by Sale of City-Owned Land at North and Throop; Move Will Increase Department Efficiency and Spur Economic Development in Englewood

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the City is taking the next step towards building a new headquarters for the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management (2FM) in the Englewood neighborhood. Today the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT), in coordination with 2FM, released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new facility on the former site of Kennedy King College to replace operations currently being performed at 1685 North Throop Street and serve as home to 225 department employees. The City plans to fund the development of the new facility with proceeds from the sale of the current department headquarters on Throop Street.

“This new facility will increase efficiency for the City and benefit taxpayers while driving economic development in the Englewood neighborhood,” Mayor Emanuel said. “By making smart investments like this we can double down on the progress we are making in one neighborhood and generate economic benefits that reach every corner of Chicago.”

The new facility will be located on vacant property at 6800 South Wentworth Avenue that was formerly the location of Kennedy King College. The replacement facility at this location will be a 200,000-square-foot building to be used for the repair and maintenance of City equipment, such as fire apparatus and snow plow trucks. The facility will also include administrative offices for 2FM, a carpenter shop, a sheet metal shop, a blacksmith shop and a paint shop.

In addition to the replacement facility at 6800 S. Wentworth Avenue, the RFP also includes a replacement satellite shop on the city’s north side and a replacement fuel site on Goose Island.

The RFP includes participation goals for both minority and woman-owned businesses. The participation goal for minority-owned businesses is 28 percent, and the participation goal for woman-owned businesses is 8 percent, exceeding the City’s standard goals. The RFP also includes a requirement that 15 percent of the total construction hours worked be by residents within the communities surrounding the project, twice the City’s standard requirement of 7.5 percent.

“This relocated facility will save significant operational costs while providing a custom and state-of-the-art location that meets the specific needs of our operations,” 2FM Commissioner David Reynolds said. “It will also generate an economic benefit to Englewood for generations to come.”

The CIT is managing the process to select a development team that will design, build and finance the replacement facilities.

“The CIT is pleased to be partnering with the City of Chicago on this important project,” CIT Executive Director Leslie Darling said. “This project is a unique opportunity to select a development team to finance the project in addition to doing the design and construction.”

“This new facility provides an opportunity for the CIT, in partnership with the City of Chicago, to drive economic development in the Englewood community,” CIT Board Chair Kurt Summers said. “And with RFP participation goals focused on minority- and women-owned businesses, we are ensuring that every aspect of this project is as inclusive and impactful as possible.”

Responses to the RFP are due by July 5, 2017. Contingent on approval by City Council, the CIT and the City anticipate beginning construction of the replacement facilities in early 2018 and reaching substantial completion in late 2018.

The RFP can be viewed at the CIT’s website: chicagoinfrastructure.org. The RFP is also available to potential buyers who may wish to include development of the replacement facilities as part of their offer to purchase 1685 North Throop and 6801 South Wentworth in response to the Department of Planning and Development’s Call for Offers issued May 24, 2017.

Mayor Emanuel Announces City Council Passage of Streetlight Modernization Project to City Council

City Council today passed an ordinance backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) that will modernize Chicago’s streetlight system, replacing 85 percent of Chicago’s public lights with reliable and high-quality fixtures. Installation of the new streetlight fixtures will begin this summer in south and west side communities. In total, the Chicago Smart Lighting Project will replace 270,000 of Chicago’s light fixtures and add a management system that will give the city a state-of-the-art smart lighting grid.

“This project is a win-win – it will deliver one of the largest lighting modernization programs in the country while addressing one of the top reasons residents call 311,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Under this proposed project we will be delivering modern, reliable and high-quality lighting that will improve quality of life in every Chicago neighborhood.”

The project is expected to be completed in four years and cost up to $160 million. The selected vendor team is led by Ameresco Inc., a national leader in the field of energy efficiency projects.

Installations are projected to begin this summer. For the first year, streetlight fixture replacement will be focused in those neighborhoods with heightened public safety concerns, primarily on the west and south sides. This allows communities in the greatest need to most quickly reap the benefits of clearer and more reliable lighting. In addition, to ensure neighborhoods throughout the City benefit from new lighting in the first year, new LED lights will be installed along approximately a dozen main arterial streets across the City.

These new lights, which will be owned and operated by the City, will consume 50-75 percent less electricity than existing high pressure sodium (HPS) lights, generating significant electricity cost savings that will be utilized to pay for the modernization.

The project has three primary components: 

  • Replacement of approximately 270,000 existing street, alley and viaduct light fixtures with modern, energy efficient LED lights. 
  • Installation of a state-of-the-art lighting management system that will enable remote monitoring and control of the City’s outdoor lighting. The system will greatly improve the city’s responsiveness to service requests by providing real-time updates when outages occur. It will also allow lighting levels to be controlled remotely.
  • Targeted stabilization and repair of existing light poles and wiring on an as-needed basis and based on available funding in order to improve the reliability of existing infrastructure.

The Smart Lighting Project procurement has been led by the CIT, in close coordination with CDOT, the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology and the Chicago Park District.

“This project represents a significant investment in Chicago’s future and specifically our neighborhoods,” Chicago Treasurer and CIT Chair Kurt Summers said. “By modernizing our infrastructure, the city will save money over the long term through lower energy costs and vastly improve the lighting on our streets and alleys. This project shows the strength of the CIT and we look forward to beginning other new initiatives that will invest in Chicago in the years to come.”

“CDOT looks forward to working with the vendor team to carry out this historic streetlight retrofit project,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “The longer life of LED lights will greatly improve the reliability of our lighting system. The higher quality light provided by LED technology will improve visibility and safety in Chicago’s neighborhoods. And the new lighting management system will also provide tremendous benefits by greatly improving the efficiency of city operations, allowing us to respond proactively when outages occur and to restore service more quickly.”

“Reliable streetlights are necessary for neighborhood quality of life,” said Alderman Emma Mitts. “This project is going to make a big difference for drivers, riders, pedestrians and residents across Chicago and I look forward to the work getting started!”

The City made it a priority to ensure that the vendor relies on a diverse lineup of subcontractors and that City residents will have access to the jobs created through the Smart Lighting Project.

More than half of the light fixtures in at least the first year will be assembled at a plant in the City of Chicago, and Ameresco has committed to using City residents to perform at least 50 percent of the work on the project. Additionally, the project is striving to achieve 27 percent Minority Business Enterprise participation and 7 percent Women’s Business Enterprise participation. The first phase of the project requires a city-wide survey of existing streetlight infrastructure, and the contractor has committed that at least half of the employees for this phase will be graduates of CPS career and technical programs, City Colleges of Chicago construction technology training programs and/or exoffender apprenticeship programs. A key subcontractor, John Burns Construction, has a strong proven record on local hiring.

Following a neighborhood demonstration project that installed sample LED lights in seven neighborhoods, the City issued specifications for the new lights that feature a “shielded” design to ensure the light is focused downward toward the street and sidewalk where it is needed. In addition, all LED fixtures will be limited to a maximum correlated color temperature (CCT) of 3000K or less, and most will contain dimmable power sources that provide the ability to remotely adjust light levels where needed.

###

New Streetlights Headed To The South & West Sides As City Selects Vendor For Chicago Smart Lighting Project

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) today announced the selection of the vendor team that will modernize Chicago’s streetlight system, replacing 85 percent of Chicago’s public lights with reliable and high-quality fixtures. Once approved by the City Council, installation of the new streetlight fixtures would begin this summer in south and west side communities. In total, the Chicago Smart Lighting Project will replace 270,000 of Chicago’s light fixtures and add a management system that will give the city a state-of-the-art smart lighting grid.

“This project is a win-win – it will deliver one of the largest lighting modernization programs in the country while addressing one of the top reasons residents call 311,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Under this proposed project we will be delivering modern, reliable and high-quality lighting that will improve quality of life in every Chicago neighborhood.”

The project is expected to be completed in four years and cost up to $160 million. The selected vendor team is led by Ameresco Inc., a national leader in the field of energy efficiency projects.

The proposed contract will be introduced to City Council tomorrow and installations are projected to begin this summer. For the first year, streetlight fixture replacement will be focused in those neighborhoods with heightened public safety concerns, primarily on the west and south sides. This allows communities in the greatest need to most quickly reap the benefits of clearer and more reliable lighting. In addition, to ensure neighborhoods throughout the City benefit from new lighting in the first year, new LED lights will be installed along approximately a dozen main arterial streets across the City.

These new lights, which will be owned and operated by the City, will consume 50-75 percent less electricity than existing high pressure sodium (HPS) lights, generating significant electricity cost savings that will be utilized to pay for the modernization.


The proposed contract includes three components:

  • Replacement of approximately 270,000 existing street, alley and viaduct light fixtures with modern, energy efficient LED lights.
  • Installation of a state-of-the-art lighting management system that will enable remote monitoring and control of the City’s outdoor lighting. The system will greatly improve the city’s responsiveness to service requests by providing real-time updates when outages occur. It will also allow lighting levels to be controlled remotely.
  • Targeted stabilization and repair of existing light poles and wiring on as-needed basis and based on available funding in order to extend the life of existing infrastructure.


The Smart Lighting Project procurement has been led by the CIT, in close coordination with CDOT, the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology and the Chicago Park District.

“This project represents a significant investment in Chicago’s future and specifically our neighborhoods,” Chicago Treasurer and CIT Chair Kurt Summers said. “By modernizing our infrastructure, the city will save money over the long term through lower energy costs and vastly improve the lighting on our streets and alleys. This project shows the strength of the CIT and we look forward to beginning other new initiatives that will invest in Chicago in the years to come.”

“CDOT looks forward to working with the proposed vendor to carry out this historic streetlight retrofit project,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “The longer life of LED lights will greatly improve the reliability of our lighting system. The higher quality light provided by LED technology will improve visibility and safety in Chicago’s neighborhoods. And the new lighting management system will also provide tremendous benefits by greatly improving the efficiency of city forces and allowing us to respond proactively when outages occur and to restore service more quickly.”

“Reliable streetlights are necessary for neighborhood quality of life,” Alderman Emma Mitts said. “This project is going to make a big difference for drivers, riders, pedestrians and residents across Chicago and I look forward to the work getting started!”

The City made it a priority to ensure that the vendor relies on a diverse lineup of subcontractors and that City residents will have access to the jobs created through the Smart Lighting Project.

More than half of the light fixtures will be assembled at a plant in the City of Chicago, and Ameresco has committed to using City residents to perform at least 50 percent of the work on the project. Additionally, the project will utilize 27 percent Minority Business Enterprise participation and 7 percent Women’s Business Enterprise participation. The first phase of the project requires a city-wide survey of existing streetlight infrastructure, and the contractor has committed to hiring at least half of the employees for this phase from CPS, City Colleges of Chicago and ex-offender programs. A key subcontractor, John Burns Construction, has a strong proven record on local hiring.

Following a neighborhood demonstration project that installed sample LED lights in seven neighborhoods, the City issued specifications for the new lights that feature a “shielded” design to ensure the light is focused downward toward the street and sidewalk where it is needed. In addition, all LED fixtures will be limited to a maximum correlated color temperature (CCT) of 3000K or less, and most will contain dimmable power sources that provide the ability to remotely adjust light levels where needed.