Emanuel renews push for O'Hare express train

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel renewed his push for an express train to O'Hare as part of the infrastructure plan he laid out on Thursday during an address to city leaders.

City Hall billed this as a major speech on infrastructure. But what we heard was the mayor taking stock of his accomplishments during his time in office and taking a few bows in the process.

The address had the feel of a campaign event. The Laborers' Union training center was adorned with enlarged photos of Rahm Emanuel at construction sites as the mayor celebrated his past and future efforts to rebuild Chicago's infrastructure.

"More than 60,000 jobs in the last five years and more than 40,000 construction jobs in just the next three years," said Mayor Emanuel.

Emanuel took credit for jobs at projects conceived and started under his predecessor, Richard M. Daley including the O'Hare Modernization Program.

But most others were imagined and built since Emanuel took office, including the Red Line reconstruction and the continuing rebuild of the city's water and sewer system.

"It helps support 10,000 jobs in the last five years, which will help support another 8,000 jobs in the next three years," said Emanuel.

"I'm happy to hear the positives for a change about what's going on in the city of Chicago," said Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward).

While touting the jobs created by his administration, Emanuel did not mention the highest-in-the-nation unemployment rate in Chicago's African-American neighborhoods

"There are so many laws on the books that address this minority question--whatever that means, the black question for me--but they're not being enforced," said Eddie Read with Chicago Black United Communities.

Emanuel also said he hopes one of the future projects will be an express train to and from O'Hare Airport, which is another project conceived during the Daley administration.

"If London and Hong Kong and Tokyo and Toronto can offer this service, the city of Chicago can and must also offer it," said Emanuel.

The mayor also announced that the city would also hire a consultant to study the O'Hare to Loop train idea. That's something that they have been talking about for some time that would actually be at least more than a decade away.
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