Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin smells “backroom deals” and “smoke-filled rooms” in the latest multi-billion plan to yank the 1950s-style O’Hare International Airport into the 21st Century.
Kamin was referring to the selection of five firms that are finalists for the the $8.5 billion airport expansion that include a new global “super terminal.” He complained about a “lack of transparency” in the process for selecting the winning firm. The names of the members of the committee that will make the final selection are a secret. Their report of how the selection is made will be kept secret.
How familiar that seems with everything dealing with O’Hare Airport–the Chicago Democrat’s Machine gigantic source of contracts
and jobs. Mayor Richard M. Daley’s multi-billion-dollar, overly ambitious O’Hare Modernization was sprung in secret on an unsuspecting public and, worst, was a complete bust, dramatically failing to meet its intended delay reductions and capacity increase.
Now comes Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new expansion plan, squeezed into the 1950s-style undersized airport, that is rich is promise but low on information that will allow stakeholders and the interested public to participate in making a wise decision.
A city spokeswoman explained that the secrecy is designed to protect the committee’s members from being lobbied. Laughable. Only the special interests will learn the names of the decision makers. The public will be presented with a fait accompli.
P.S. Will the new terminal 2 impinge on a diagonal runway that now is in use as part of the city’s plan to rotate landings and takeoffs to provide certain communities relief from the agonizing noise that are the result of Daley’s runway realignment and expansion?
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