In a Crain’s Chicago Business op-ed dated April 3, Jack Lavin underscored the need for Mayor Brandon Johnson to prioritize the construction of O’Hare International Airport’s new global terminal.

Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, emphasizes the pivotal role O’Hare plays in the regional business community, stating, “Chicago is at the crossroads of America, and our geographic position and strong transportation options are vital to the success of the regional business community.”

As Lavin points out, “O’Hare’s future success relies on a long-promised expansion project.” However, he expresses concern over the project’s uncertain future, citing “years of delays and rising costs” as key obstacles.

Regarding the initial plan developed in 2018, Lavin notes, “The modernization project has not even begun, and the cost has already reportedly ballooned by more than $1.5 billion — on top of inflation.” He warns that, unless the situation is addressed, “Those added dollars would be foisted upon the airlines, resulting in reduced service and significantly higher costs for travelers, regardless of which airline you fly.”

Lavin proposes a strategic approach to mitigate risks, emphasizing the importance of working on the new global terminal along with one of the satellite concourses. He asserts, “It’s essential that Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Aviation Department prioritize building the Global Terminal with one of the satellite concourses first, and then save the second concourse for the end.”

Citing the importance of timely action, Lavin points out, “Any further delay and Chicago will miss another season of construction, losing thousands of job opportunities, causing the costs of the project to continue to rise, and impeding the chance to deliver the best terminal-development program for Chicago’s residents.”

As spring arrives, the urgency of Lavin’s call to action reverberates through the business community. Mayor Johnson and the Aviation Department are urged to heed the advice of industry leaders and prioritize the 21st-century O’Hare global terminal that Chicago was promised in 2018.

Check out the full article by Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, by visiting Crain’s Chicago Business.