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Over $2 billion O’Hare Expansion plan should go to minority and women-owned companies


   At least 32 percent of the 8.5 billion dollar plan to expand O’Hare International Airport should go to minority companies, confirmed Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th) to Negocios Now.

  The Chicago City Council voted Wednesday to approve a multibillion-dollar plan, which is soon to become the airport’s largest capital improvement ever.

    According to Villegas, 26 percent of the contract for the O’Hare Airport Expansion Plan will go to minority-owned company and 6 percent will go to women-owned companies. It represents close to $2.72 billion in contracts for diversity companies.

  On Tuesday the Finance Committee recommended approval to borrow $4 billion dollars to pay for nearly half the project. Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed an ordinance, making the expansion plan official.

   Minorities and women will either get their fair share of the jobs and contracts generated by an $8.5 billion O’Hare Airport expansion or the City Council will “take away the funding source,” said alderman Villegas.

   Ald. Villegas, chairman of the City Council’s Hispanic Caucus, made the threat after convincing the Aviation Committee to create an oversight commission to ride herd over the massive project and hold Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s feet to the fire, reported the Chicago Sun-Times.

  “As we see barriers or roadblocks or things that are not working, we introduce legislation or we take away the funding source [and] go as extreme as that,” said Villegas to his colleagues.

 Regarding this mega-project, the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) submitted the following statement Negocios Now.

 “The CDA is committed to seeking all available opportunities for diverse, local firms as well as residents to participate in contracting and other opportunities made by possible under O’Hare 21 and the historic terminal expansion program.”

  Our Minority and Women-owned Business (M/WBE) Program Plan for O’Hare 21 will match the City’s continued commitment to the success of minority- and women-owned businesses by promoting contracting opportunities. Over the next 8 years, the CDA will take deliberate action to improve participation by small and minority firms when it comes to contracting and to continue ensuring that O’Hare’s economic power brings more opportunities for all Chicagoans,” said the CDA.

According to the Tribune, the expansion plan aims to:

  • Tear down 55-year-old Terminal 2
  • Create a new “Global terminal” with wider concourses and gates for larger international aircraft
  • Renovate Terminals 1, 3 and 5
  • Build two new satellite terminals to the west of existing terminals that would connect to the new Global Terminal
  • Add 3.1 million square feet of terminal space, a 72 percent increase over the airport’s current 4.3 million square feet
  • Increase the number of gates from 185 to roughly 220