CHICAGO – July 14, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn announced today that the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass advisory council has submitted its final report. The Governor created the council by Executive Order last fall to assist in the planning for extending the Elgin-O’Hare Expressway east and building the west bypass around O’Hare International Airport to connect Interstates 90 and 294, with space to accommodate mass transit. The council determined that the project will create more than 78,000 short-term and long-term jobs, maximize the potential of an expanded O’Hare International Airport and strengthen the economy throughout the Chicago region for decades to come.
“This report will be extremely helpful as we move forward with the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass, which is a priority of my administration,” said Governor Quinn. “This important project will create thousands of jobs and serve as a major economic engine for northeastern Illinois.”
The council has 28 members representing local government, the business community, regional planning groups, labor and public finance. Since it was formed, it has met regularly to study various aspects of the project, including economic and environmental impacts, incorporating business and workforce diversity, funding options and potential financing structures.
The report shows that the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass, in conjunction with an expanded O’Hare International Airport, will create 65,000 permanent jobs by 2040, with an additional 13,450 jobs created each year during construction. Local tax revenues will increase $29 million annually once the project is complete. For motorists, the annual savings from the reduction in travel delays alone will be $145 million.
The report urged the lead agencies on the project - the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority - to consider innovative funding strategies, including tolling options and public-private partnerships, and to account for all modes of transportation, such as transit, biking and walking.
The Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass, designated a “Project of National Significance” by the Federal Highway Administration, is in the second stage of environmental and engineering studies, due to be completed in 2012. The project is estimated to cost $3.6 billion, and the initial construction phase, estimated at $2.2 billion, could start as early as 2013. For more information about the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass, including a copy of the advisory council’s report, visit www.elginohare-westbypass.org.