Mayor Rahm Emanuel is seeking private bidders interested in leasing Midway International Airport for no more than 40 years.
The mayor says he wants enough cash from the deal to pay off the airport's roughly $1.4 billion in debt, and then a split of profits with the private operator.
Emanuel is proposing a panel of City Council members, business leaders and labor representatives to oversee the process — with advice from an audit firm.
Acknowledging Chicago's still-contentious parking meters deal, Emanuel says keeping jobs for current airport workers and a "Traveler's Bill of Rights" would be part of the deal.
“I am exploring all options on behalf of taxpayers, and I have made it clear I will only consider moving forward if certain conditions and criteria are met," Emanuel said.
"We all know the parking meter deal was bad for taxpayers and the city, and I have instructed my staff to ensure we mandate significant changes that protect us from the mistakes made with the parking meter deal.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's office says Kirk is "a strong supporter of public-private partnerships that provide value to taxpayers" and the senator is looking forward to working with Chicago's mayor on the process.