O'Hare Airport. Lot's of room for expansion, right?
the Daley administration's lame excuses for shoving it to the airlines after they thought they had been making progress. One item that the city reneged on was the controversial western terminals, which United and American don't want. Daley first said okay, then demanded suddenly that the airlines pay for it. This is another example of airport expansion opponents correctly calling what would happen. The western terminal would be useless, especially to hub airport operators such as United and American, who want convenient connections for their passengers. Making their passengers get from the western edge of the airport to the main terminal would not be convenient. It would be folly.
EARLIER REPORT: The Daley administration always insisted that funding the O'Hare Airport expansion wouldn't be a problem. Despite repeated warnings by expansion opponents that the funding would be illusive, if not impossible, the city always said, "trust us." The guarantees that the funding would "be there" even after United and American airlines repeatedly said they could not pay for the expansion's second phase, the most important part of the $15-billion-plus O'Hare Modernization Program.
Meanwhile, the city kept negotiating, hoping that a deal for more airline financial support could be worked out. Not, the Tribune reported
that the two airlines are at loggerheads with the city:
An elusive deal on funding
the final new runways at O'Hare
International Airport finally appeared to be close at hand after years
of negotiations, until city officials undermined the agreement, airline
officials said Tuesday.
Representatives of United and
American airlines said city aviation officials caught the carriers
off-guard with demands that they consider unreasonable: They planned to
rents and landing fees by millions of dollars, despite the recession
and a struggling airline industry. In addition, the city plans to use
the money to repay bonds, which carry a 4 percent variable interest rate
and aren't due for another 20 years.
Ya got to hand it to Daley, the mayor. Betraying his closest allies in the expansion debacle doesn't seem to bother him, no more than the destruction of a suburban community standing in its path.
The Crain's story is here
and the Sun-Times is here
. Be sure not to miss readers' comments in the Tribune here
; they're great.