By Hispanic News Agency (HINA)
As Jamie Rhee, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation, looks back on year-one of her latest role with the City of Chicago, it is a time of reflection on the enormity of operating the nation’s most connected airport, while gearing up for a decade of transformation.
The next two years will bring the completion of both the Midway Modernization Project (MMP) and O’Hare Modernization Program. Once complete at Midway, travelers will experience a reinvention of concessions, the security entry and parking improvements. Meanwhile, O’Hare passengers may not see such visual improvements, but when the modernization program comes to a close in 2020, it will be felt by 63-percent greater efficiency on a completely redesigned airfield.
“The OMP has literally paved the way for the $8.5 Billion O’Hare 21 project that is already underway in Terminal 5 and other places around the airport,” said Rhee. “Now that we nearly finished with that decade-long reconfiguration, we are now focusing on our aging terminals.”
Once complete in 2028, O’Hare 21 will have transformed ORD into a premier international destination hub for the 21st century.
“Working alongside our airline and federal partners, our goal is to maintain operations in such a way that the average passenger won’t even know there’s construction taking place,” said Rhee. “The entire project is conceptualized to move forward with each piece starting when the last comes on line, ultimately with the O’Hare Global Terminal.”
The project will also be a model of inclusiveness and transparency, with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the CDA viewing O’Hare 21 as an unprecedented opportunity for local participation by minority, women, disabled, veteran, returning citizens and LGBTQIA businesses, by offering incentives to local, Chicago-based companies, broken down by the most in need of the city’s 77 neighborhoods.
“The Chicago Department of Aviation always has made economic inclusion for businesses and residents a top priority – because as a city – we have a responsibility to both award our contracts not only in accordance with the law – but in a way that guarantees a fair shot for all, with integrity and transparency, and greater participation by small and diverse businesses,” said Rhee. “I’m proud to say that, working with the Chicago City Council, we have enacted strong policies to ensure greater and greater participation.”
New to the CDA and its activities is a formal Code of Conduct. Launched in early September, the code serves as a roadmap for all CDA employees and vendors. Each will be required to learn, understand and comply with the code, with trainings beginning this fall.
“At a crucial time for Chicago’s aviation community, the CDA Code of Conduct provides a road map to deliver on the promises of ORD 21 and the Midway Modernization Program,” said Rhee. “Since the first day in office, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has mandated accountability for city employees and agencies to act with transparency, integrity and efficiency. The power of this effort will be demonstrated in our actions.”
The Code of Conduct, as well as other CDA news, is available at flychicago.org.