CHICAGO (CBS) -- City officials broke ground Thursday on a new consolidated rental car facility at O'Hare International Airport, designed to bring every rental car agency under one roof, and reduce traffic congestion on airport terminal roadways.
Chicago Aviation Department chief operating officer Jonathan Leach said the $783 million rental car facility and public parking garage would be built without using local or state tax dollars.
The city obtained a $288 million low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of transportation, which will be paid back through fees charged to rental car agencies and airlines at O'Hare. The remaining funds will come from general airport revenue bonds.
Currently, rental car agencies are spread out in various locations at the airport, and have to run shuttle buses to the terminals to pick up and drop off passengers.
The rental car facility will be similar to one at Midway International Airport, except the one at O'Hare will include public parking. The five-story facility at O'Hare will have 4,200 spaces for rental cars, and 2,600 spaces for public parking. It also will have the capability to be expanded to nine stories.
When the facility is complete in 2018, rental car companies will no longer be allowed to run shuttle buses to the terminals.
"We're working to reduce congestion on the roadways, by requiring all rental car customers to ride the automated train system, which will be extended from its existing place in the E Lot," Leach said.
The new building will be constructed on what is now the cheapest long-term parking lot, Lot F, which costs $9 per day.
Leach said long-term parkers will be able to use Lot G across Bessie Coleman Drive, starting next month, when Lot F closes; although Lot G could be more expensive.
"The max rate we can charge in there is $14. We're going to take a look at the rate, and make a decision here soon," he said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office has said the project will generate 3,000 design and construction jobs, and 100 permanent jobs.
Leach said it's possible concession operations could open on the customer level of the new building, so travelers could eat or drink while they're waiting to be served by one of the rental car companies.
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