O’Hare Airport Gets $40M Boost from Biden’s Infrastructure Law

Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Department of Aviation announced last week that O’Hare International Airport will receive an additional $40M in Airport Terminal Program grant funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, bringing the total amount awarded to the airport to $90M.

This grant, along with a $50M grant awarded in 2023, will be used to upgrade customer amenities, improve security screening and expand accessibility for passengers with disabilities at Terminal 3. For the second consecutive year, O’Hare is the recipient of the largest such grant awarded this year for any airport in America.

“O’Hare is critical to the infrastructure of the entire Chicago region, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and keeping the greatest city in the world connected to every corner of it,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said. “Thanks to the support of the Biden-Harris Administration and members of Illinois’ Congressional delegation, this grant will complement the CDA’s ongoing efforts to modernize and expand O’Hare to serve the evolving needs of the traveling public for decades to come.”

Planned upgrades at Terminal 3 that will be financed by this federal grant include eligible work related to:

  • The reconfiguration of two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints into a single screening area, providing space for modern and more efficient equipment
  • An expanded passenger corridor between Concourse K and Concourse L, tripling the current corridor’s width
  • The expansion of the holdroom space at Gates K1 and L2A, dramatically improving the passenger experience
  • Upgrades to the terminal’s baggage facilities and systems, including a completely revamped baggage claim area
  • The development of approximately 10,000 square feet of new concessions and amenity spaces
  • Renovated restrooms and a new family restroom
  • Other renovations of the terminal’s interior and exterior structures and systems, which will improve overall energy efficiency 

“O’Hare’s bustling Terminal 3 is a critical piece of Chicago infrastructure that will continue to play a key role in our national aviation system for decades to come,” said Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee of the CDA, which owns and operates O’Hare and Midway International Airports. “I thank the entire Illinois Congressional delegation and our partners at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for supporting our work to renovate this terminal. We look forward to working with our partners in the construction trades to ensure this project provides contracting opportunities to help diverse small businesses build capacity, while also delivering on Mayor Johnson’s vision to use government to connect young people across this city with opportunities to fulfill their potential.”

The estimated $200M project at Terminal 3 is a component of O’Hare 21, Chicago’s vision for a 21st century airport. The balance of the Terminal 3 upgrade will be paid for by previously allocated federal funds and airline rates and charges.

A key component of the project is the CDA’s continued commitment to employment, education and training opportunities for entrepreneurs and young people from diverse backgrounds. This includes the Bid & Resource Center at O’Hare, which alongside CDA’s Workforce Development team, partners with local, community-based organizations to provide resources across Chicago’s 77 community areas, hosting career expos, visiting neighborhood events, and establishing unique and emerging partnerships with City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools.

Construction on the Terminal 3 Improvements project is expected to begin this spring and last for just over three years, with an anticipated completion date of summer 2027. Construction will take a phased approach to allow continuous operations throughout Terminal 3 during construction.

Additional components of the O’Hare 21 capital program continue to proceed. Initial work to prepare for future satellite concourses launched in spring 2023. For more information, visit www.ord21.com.

A total of 114 airports received nearly $1B in grant funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Airport Terminal Program this year, as announced today by the U.S. Department of Transportation. A complete list and a graphic visualization is available on the FAA’s website.


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