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Four teams vie to build Chicago O'Hare express rail line

The new service would provide 20-minute trips from downtown Chicago to O'Hare.
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The Chicago Infrastructure Trust has received four proposals to design, build, finance and maintain an express rail line to O'Hare International Airport.

The new service would take 20 minutes or less to travel from downtown Chicago to O'Hare, trimming the current transit time by about 50 percent. The Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line trains take about 45 minutes to travel from downtown Chicago to O'Hare, according to the agency's website.

The four respondents are:
• The Boring Co., business magnate Elon Musk's infrastructure firm;
• Oaktree Capital Management;
• O'Hare Express Train Partners, which consists of OHL Infrastructure, Kiewit and Amtrak; and
• O'Hare Xpress LLC, which is composed of Meridiam, Antarctica Capital, JLC Infrastructure, Mott MacDonald and First Transit.

The responses show "strong private-sector interest" in the project, according to a press release issued by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.

The original request for proposals specified that the O'Hare express line should include a downtown station, an airport station and one maintenance facility. Corridors may be above or below ground level.

The RFQ also called for the service to operate at least every 15 minutes for the majority of the day.

Currently, about 20,000 air passengers travel daily between O'Hare and the Chicago Central Business District. That figure is projected to grow to at least 35,000 daily air passengers by 2045, according to Emanuel's release.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/12/2018