If Mayor Rahm Emanuel really believes he can deliver a high-speed rail line between the center and the O & # 39; Hare airport, he surely chose a strange place to make that discussion.
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley once hoped to convince Chinese investors would build a line to O'Hare that would originate in the super-station that the city spent $ 200 million to build in block 37.  It never happened, leaving the subway station looking like little more than an unfinished basement. 19659002] On Wednesday, Emanuel was in the same unfinished basement, now again on the table as a possible downtown station for the high-speed train, and claimed that he could now deliver what his predecessor could not because the times and the technology have changed.  "Many of the questions in the past … were about financing.Today, the world has a lot of resources devoted to infrastructure.Financing is not the problem.Engineering is … [And] there is a new technology that offers you many different options, "said the mayor.
"Whether in Asia, the Middle East and also in Europe, there are many, many sovereign wealth funds, other types of funds flowing millions and billions of dollars in funds to invest in infrastructure."
Emanuel pointed out that O & # 39; Hare is the "best airport connected" to the service of a city with the "most diversified economy" in the country.
The area of pedway in the lower level of Block 37 that leads to the Red Line. An unfinished railway station below Block 37 could be used for express train service to O & # 39; Hare. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times
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The pedway area on the lower level of Block 37 leading to Red LIne. An unfinished railway station below the Block 37 could be used for express train service to O'Hare. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times
The president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, Jorge Ramirez, president of the group of investors that recently bought the Chicago Sun-Times, adding: "If you ever had an opportunity, now would be the best time to do it. There are tons of money for infrastructure, but they do not have [enough] projects. " An application for qualifications aims to identify teams interested in designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining an express train to O & # 39; Hare penniless from Chicago taxpayers Stakeholders have until January 24 to send their answers.
The system should take travelers between the center and O & # 39; Hare in 20 minutes or less , operate at least every 15 minutes and cost less than the taxi fare or a Uber / Lyft trip to O & # 39; Hare.
Without money from the city, the service must be financed "entirely by the dealer" and financed "exclusively for project-specific revenues", including tariffs, advertising or transit-oriented development.
Toronto opened a high-speed rail line before the 2015 Pan American Games, which has struggled to achieve objectives of the users, so much so that the $ 27.50 tariff had to be cut in half to attract more pbadengers.
Still, Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans travelers would be willing to pay a premium rate, in the range of $ 25 to $ 35, provided they receive services that include the ability to check baggage at a station center and then a reserved seat, drinks and wi-fi on the train.
Centro Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) warned that private investors will demand a "decent return", adding: "Will it result in a large number of pbadengers and use or will the rates be too exorbitant?"
This area below Block 37 was conceived as a train station that could be part of a high-speed link to O & # 39; Hare International Airport. After being inactive for several years, he is now back in the mix as a potential site for service. Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke to reporters on Wednesday about the plans. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times
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This area below block 37 was thought of as a railway station that could be part of a high speed link to O. Hare International Airport After remaining dormant for several years, he is now back in the mix as a potential site for the service Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke with reporters on Wednesday about the plans. Sun-Times
Ramirez said it would not take much more than a guaranteed seat to convince business travelers to spend $ 35 on a trip to O & # 39; Hare.
"Every minute means a lot. To be able to count on 20 minute roundtrip rides is a big difference, "he said.
" Sometimes it takes me an hour and 20 minutes to get to the airport. Even more if it is snowing. If you have to do business that day … it would be worth more than $ 20, $ 30, $ 40 to get on that train and know that I'm doing my flight. "
Earlier this year, Evans said the Block station 37 was "not a feasible term" because "it would completely disrupt the existing CTA service using that area."
It changed its tone because the mayor has not ruled out Block 37 as a downtown station for the high-speed train and because RFQ identifies three potential routes, one of which ends in Block 37.
"It was based on the planning information we had at the time," Evans said, when asked about his earlier statement.
"The idea [now] is to put all the options on the table, see what technologies there are and see what is possible …"
These route options are: the CTA blue line that extends along the median of the Expy Kennedy, the Metra North Central line that reaches the center from the city just north of Union Station; and the rights of way of the freight railroad that would extend west of Forest Park, then north of O & # 39; Hare.
The Blue Line option could be a structure built on the Blue Line or underground. The North Central option could end up in your own station or in Union Station.