I propose that a bistate Gary-Chicago Airport Authority (GCAA) be formed. Federal monies that would be used to expand O'Hare or build an airport at Peatone instead should be used to fund expansion and improvement of the Gary-Chicago airport.
In addition, a stub-terminal should be built from the NICTD tracks to provide easy access to the airport terminal, and the GCAA should be tasked with subsidizing a train between Randolph Street Station and that terminal. The train, named GCAT, will operate on twenty-minute headways twenty-four hours per day, and make all-stops between Randolph and the airport. This will provide the south lakefront, Pullman, Hegewisch, Hammond, East Chicago, and western Gary with rapid-transit level train service. The CGAT trains will take around an hour to reach the airport from Downtown.
GCAT should enter into revenue-sharing agreements with Metra and NICTD so that customers may enter any train with any pre-purchase fair media, further enhancing service in the corridor. Conductors should also carry readers that can deduct fares from CTA Chicago Cards.
Airlines can be incentivised to provide service to the expanded Gary-Chicago airport with tight FAA-imposed flight limits from O'Hare and Midway. Gary-Chicago is far enough from Chicago to minimize interference with operations at those two airports.
This propsal will open up a blighted area for redevelopment, provide rapid-transit rail service to a corridor that desperately needs it, solve Chicago's airport congestion problems, and probably save billions over either of the two existing proposals in the process.