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by Michael C. Lowe | March 16, 2011

 A $1.17 billion agreement to upgrade the Chicago O'Hare International Airport was announced on Monday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, executives from United Airlines and American Airlines and U.S. Senators Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk. The agreement allows the O'Hare Modernization Program to move into its second phase, which includes the completion of a new runway by 2015. The agreement also stipulates that the negotiating parties will return to the table in March 2013 to discuss the timeline and funding of an additional runway and a runway extension. The first phase, now under way, includes the construction of two new runways, a runway extension and a new air traffic control tower. Once the second phase is complete, the airport will have eight modern runways and infrastructure to reduce flight delays and improve travel efficiency.