The Civic Committee has continued the long history of the Commercial Club successfully promoting important transportation projects and policies.
O’Hare International Airport
In 1989 the Civic Committee formed its Aviation Task Force and launched an aggressive campaign to build support for O’Hare expansion, reaching out to legislative leaders, transportation officials, airline executives, suburban mayors and community groups. We worked to mediate local opposition to O’Hare, help secure sound abatement policies and funding, put pressure on federal transportation officials, build support among business and labor and energize local media.
In 2003, the O’Hare Modernization Project was passed, allowing for the most ambitious airport restructuring in the country. The massive realignment and rebuilding of the runways will reconfigure the airfield to improve safety and increase capacity. These airport improvements have helped retain and attract businesses to the Chicago region while creating thousands of jobs.
The increase in airfield capacity has also laid the groundwork for the City of Chicago’s new plan to rebuild and modernize the passenger terminals at O’Hare. The Civic Committee supports the $8.5 billion plan to build a state-of-the-art global terminal, dozens of new gates, and upgraded concourses. This eight-year rebuilding effort will be the largest terminal reconstruction in O’Hare’s history.
In 1999, the Civic Committee helped launch Chicago Metropolis 2020 a contemporary plan for the city’s future development. While Burnham’s plan primarily addressed architecture and spatial planning, Chicago Metropolis 2020 addresses all facets of urban life, from early learning to suburban sprawl, from transportation to social and economic segregation, with the expressed goal of continuing Chicago’s tradition of renewal and foresight.
Transportation Task Force
The Civic Committee has renewed its efforts in transportation advocacy by launching a Transportation Task Force in 2017 to guide the Civic Committee’s work on their transportation policy and project priorities. The group of nearly 20 executives, civic, and academic leaders are committed to ensuring Chicago retains its position as a world transportation leader. The Task Force works with public officials and other civic organizations to promote transportation policies and projects that improve the social and economic well-being of our region. The Task Force has recently been engaged in improving O’Hare’s terminal infrastructure and accelerating the CREATE rail program, a group of 75 projects that will improve rail and truck traffic throughout the Chicago region.
The Transportation Task Force’s vision of an integrated transportation system that supports a Chicago region positioned for economic vitality and improved quality of life is rooted in principles that are fundamental to maintaining our role as the transportation hub of the nation. The Task Force concentrates on transportation projects and policies that strive to better connect our modes of transportation, embrace innovation, improve the governance of our transportation infrastructure, and make transportation investments that are sustainable over the long-term.
The strength of the Chicago Region’s economy rests on its vast transportation system. Illinois’ prosperity will depend on the maintenance, modernization, and expansion of this transportation system. The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago continues their 140 plus year old civic commitment to improving this vital system.