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Get Ready For A Bigger, Better O’Hare… Maybe

By Amy Hart in News on Sep 29, 2005 4:18PM


On Friday the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to give final approval to Mayor Daley’s O’Hare expansion project.

Daley’s O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), first introduced in 2001, would update the airport’s runway layout to improve efficiency and safety while decreasing delays and build a new western terminal to accommodate more passengers and flights.

In addition, the city would like to create more transportation options to get to the airport, including a western access road and direct CTA service from the downtown.

The city touts O’Hare expansion would create nearly 200,000 new jobs and add $18 billion a year to the area’s economy.

All of that for just $6.6 billion? Sounds great. Let’s get started now and tell Atlanta to shove it! Chicago has been the nation’s transportation hub since the coming of the railroads in the mid 1800s, and we are not about to give that title up to a bunch of Braves fans.

If only it were that simple. The FAA says Daley’s plan would now cost over $14 billion, plus additional money for transportation improvements. The FAA also contends that the plan would not deliver the economic benefits, decrease in flight delays, or increases in safety that it promises.

And O’Hare expansion is not such a good idea if you live in the surrounding suburbs or are buried there. In addition to moving graveyards, the city of Chicago would uproot homes and businesses, thereby decreasing tax revenues for nearby suburban communities.

Those opposing O’Hare expansion vow to go to court to stop it.