Daley foresees O'Hare bullet train within five years

April 11, 2011

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Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is continuing to court Chinese investors to help pay for a high-speed train between the city and O'Hare Airport.

Daley told reporters Monday that he met with three high-speed rail firms during a trip to China in March. The city will issue an official request later this week to get more ideas and suggestions from interested companies, said Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino.

Daley has long envisioned an elevated bullet train to O'Hare, but a previous plan for the train fell through due to a lack of funding. Daley said Monday he hopes it can be completed in the next five years.

"You [would] process everything downtown, and when you get [to O'Hare], you don't go through TSA [security], you go right through a chute, right out to the terminal," Daley said.

And Daley stressted that taxpayers would not foot the bill.

"You can't print money. It's gettin' worthless," he said. "And so you have to have private investments to come, basically, help us in infrastructure, otherwise you can't get any of these projects done."

Daley said the city is already looking at two routes for the train, though he wouldn't talk specifics, except to say they are near two existing train lines and would not require the city to demolish homes.

A spokesman for Rahm Emanuel says the mayor-elect also supports the project.