More Chicago book cooking at O'Hare Airport

Greg Hinz  at Crain’s reports:

With passenger traffic down as much as 95 percent, Team Lightfoot stonewalls questions on whether revenue at the region’s key economic engine has followed suit.

Despite clear signs of plummeting traffic at Chicago’s airports, senior Lightfoot administration officials refuse to release financial data on just how big of a revenue hit O’Hare International and Midway airports are taking from the COVID-19 travel slowdown.

In a phone interview Friday, city Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett and Aviation Commissioner Jamie Rhee had promised, through a spokesman, “to talk airport finances.” Crain’s has been pressing for that data because O’Hare in particular is critical to the city’s economic health and is in the early stages of a $8.5 billion terminal expansion project that now could face major financial headwinds.

Of course, city officials don’t want you to see the numbers. It’s a tradition that goes way, way back and includes the entire administration of Richard M. Daley.

Put bluntly: The administrations past and present don’t want you to know how much of your money and passenger money has disappeared down this black hole, created in part by the scandalous money grab called O’Hare Airport expansion.

Never mind that it’s your airport. It doesn’t belong to whoever happens to be controlling Chicago City Hall. Hey Greg, here’s another FOIA request you might want to try, and I can assure you that your get a BS answer: Ask for how much has been spent on the failed and laughable O’Hare Modernization Program. I did, was eventually told that it was $4 billion something–less than the $6.6 billion that Daley said it would cost when he announced the program in 2001. As you might have noticed, the expansion has come in years late, still is underway and blew threw the $6.6 billion big time.

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