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Battle Lines Drawn Over Expanding Chicago's O'Hare  
User currently offlineVio From Canada, joined Feb 2004, 1577 posts, RR: 8
Posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2889 times:

Hi everyone,

Here's a story about O'Hare that I found from Yahoo news. So, is this a good idea? Bad Idea?
Battle Lines Drawn Over Expanding Chicago's O'Hare
Mon Feb 16, 8:05 AM ET

By Karen Pierog

CHICAGO (Reuters) - One of the world's busiest airport may get even busier -- but not if a group of detractors has its way.

AFP/File Photo

The proposed multibillion-dollar expansion of runways at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been the subject of lawsuits and allegations of sweetheart deals mainly by the mayors of suburbs that stand to lose property to the project.

The mayors have enlisted religious groups to protect two cemeteries in the path of the project and also to put together a coalition to try to build a competing airport from scratch in Peotone, Illinois, 35 miles southwest of Chicago.

Meanwhile, major airlines and business leaders are backing Mayor Richard Daley's vision of a reconfigured and bigger O'Hare that will no longer cause rippling delays throughout the U.S. air traffic system.

Craig Johnson, mayor of Elk Grove Village, which hugs the western edge of O'Hare, said his ongoing battle is a struggle for his suburb's very existence that may also ultimately save the airport from becoming a "white elephant."


The reason is the cost of the runway expansion -- $6.6 billion in 2001 dollars. Chicago recently released a master plan for the airport that pegged the costs of new runways, along with separate plans for new terminals and normal capital projects, at $14.8 billion over 20 years.

That price tag will force the airport to drastically hike fees charged to airlines to pay off billions of dollars of bonds that will be sold, he said.

"How can O'Hare function if it charges three to four times more than other airports?" Johnson said, pointing to the trend of low-cost airlines that cannot afford high airport fees.

But Chicago aviation officials argue total capital spending planned for the airport through 2022 will keep O'Hare's cost per enplaned passenger in the middle of the pack, compared with other major U.S. airports. They also stressed that projects will proceed only if airlines agree and if investors are willing to purchase the airport's bonds.

The city's immediate plan is to add a new runway, relocate or extend existing runways, construct a new terminal and create a western access to the airport. Chicago officials say that project will generate 195,000 new jobs and pump $18 billion into the local economy.

Other project benefits cited by the city include expected dramatic improvements in weather-related flight delays by implementing a parallel, largely nonintersecting runway system. The estimated savings would be $380 million a year for consumers and about $370 million a year for airlines.

Most of O'Hare's major carriers, including United, a unit of UAL Corp., and American, a unit of AMR Corp., have signed onto Mayor Daley's initial $2.9 billion financing phase for the runway project.

Johnson, whose Suburban O'Hare Commission has hired teams of aviation experts to scrutinize plans for the airport, said many of the projects within the master plan are dependent on each other. That makes total costs excessive, while benefits, such as decreased delays, are below any threshold for the Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) to approve.

Johnson said his Elk Grove Village community, which has spent millions of dollars on the O'Hare battle, supports some of the plan as long as it does not encroach on its borders.

"Build what you want on your property, just don't do it at our expense," he said. His town could lose as many as 500 businesses in its commercial park, which generates 85 cents of every dollar the suburb collects in taxes, he said. Bensenville, another western suburb, stands to lose 500 homes.

Chicago's plan would point three runways at the heart of Elk Grove's residential section, heightening concerns about safety and quality of life, Johnson said.


Rosemarie Andolino, who heads the O'Hare project for Chicago, said the city was confident the FAA would only approve a "safe and efficient airport." She added that plans for O'Hare mirrored projects the FAA has approved at other airports, such as Atlanta and Dallas Fort Worth.

Something has to be done at O'Hare as far as FAA officials are concerned.

They recently highlighted problems created nationwide by congestion at O'Hare, saying that only 60 percent of flights departing from there in November arrived at their destination on time.

As a result, American and United, which account for most of the traffic out of O'Hare, agreed to a 5 percent decrease in the number of takeoffs and landings between 1 and 8 p.m. for six months, starting in March.

FAA officials blamed the congestion on lack of runway space at O'Hare.

"We've got to plan for the long-term future of O'Hare," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, adding that the FAA has the city's modernization plan, as well as plans for the south suburban airport under review.

Superior decisions reduce the need for superior skills.
12 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineOrdpark From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 610 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2855 times:
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Mayor Johnson and his cronies have been fighting this for years, They'll do anything, say anything to trash the ORD expansion project.

EVERYBODY knew the original 6.6 million figure would get higher..I grow weary of these obstructionists who continue to fight this very necessary expansion at every turn...

User currently offlineWileyPost From United States of America, joined May 2001, 3 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2795 times:

Lines being drawn?? More like "it's over, it's all over". They've already started plowing under properties. Rich Daley and Denny Hastert give the project powerful bi-partisan protection.

User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5841 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2768 times:

Opponents of DEN warned that the costs of operations would be significantly higher than Stapleton Field. But Frontier keeps growing, and United has shown no sign of closing or sgnificantly scaling back the size of its hub.

The problems with Peotone are two-fold. First, there is the inability to get there. It's more than twice as far from the Chicago Loop as ORD, and there is no rail line to the area. For the suburbanites who oppose ORD expansion, there is no easy way to drive there.

Second, the airlines have no interest in flying into Peotone. UA and AA have said that service will be limited to the other hubs. They point out the problems with serving three airpoirts in the New York and Washington areas.

WN has as part of its agreement with the City of Chicago that if Peotone is built, they can leave MDW, and the City owes WN for all of the improvements that it has made since construction started on the new terminal in the late 90s. WN has said that if it leaves MDW, it would go to either MKE or Rockford.

User currently offlineBobs89irocz From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 632 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2739 times:

My GF's moms house is in Bensenville and they plan to plow her house right up....she is pissed off but she doesnt understand the reason why they need to expand ORD. Everytime we get on the subject i have to walk away from her in order to stop an argument. I understand that ORD needs to expand, she doesnt know crap about it or understand it and that causes a problem with the comunity as well. People dont understand the needs. Not only that like mentioned above, if they moved down to peotone there will be some problems with alot of people. For instance my Dad works for AA we live out in Rockford now and if he had to drive way down there we would have to move again. NO WAY....not only that in Peotone they will have to make a whole new airport. ORD is already built just expand on it. Much better idea....it will piss off less people in my eyes.

User currently onlineLMP737 From United States of America, joined May 2002, 5041 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2634 times:

As we speak the business park on the north west corner of ORD is being torn down. If anyone thinks they can stop or slow this down they are kidding themselves.

Never take financial advice from co-workers.
User currently offlineUAL747DEN From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2392 posts, RR: 11
Reply 6, posted (12 years 2 months 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2560 times:

I say keep ORD the way it is and move all the traffic to DEN! UA can take over the C concourse and well build a D concourse for AA and then do an E for the rest of the airlines!
No seriously ORD does need to expand and if the people and city does not get this done what I said above will really happen. If the airport starts to cost the airlines more money in delays they will have to find some way to eliminate them......

User currently offlineORDnDFW777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2494 times:

A new ORD will happen. Mayor Daley is the most powerful person in Illinois and will get his way.

User currently offlineWGW2707 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1197 posts, RR: 31
Reply 8, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2479 times:

I wonder if expanding ORD on such a large scale basis is such a good idea. Perhaps it would be better to create a third regional gateway, perhaps in GYY. The problem with expanding ORD would be if landing fees are raised to an excessive level it would possibly discourage use of the airport, although on the same note Chicago has a huge O&D market so they are perhaps a city that can afford to have high landing fees more than say, MCI or IND...

In any event, something needs to be done as the delays affecting flights out of ORD are absurd and the airport is badly overcrowded. I do not like using ORD when there is an alternative.


User currently offlineORDnDFW777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2453 times:

Chicago has quite a bit of O&D traffic. Who want's to go to Peotone or Gary when you can take the blue line to ORD? Fix ORD, all will be good for the city and flying public in general. I can't picture a BA 777 or LH 744 flying into a cornfield in Peotone.

User currently offlineDCA-ROCguy From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 4647 posts, RR: 31
Reply 10, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2454 times:

I get the impression that three things have helped to get ORD expansion moving. May it be as unstoppable as some of you say!

First, the election of a Democrat governor removed a key obstacle--a governor dependent upon NIMBY Republican votes in the Northwest suburbs. Former GOP Governor Ryan deserves some credit though--once he decided not to run for re-election, he joined up with Daley and threw his weight behind the expansion.

Second, Senator Fitzgerald is not running for re-election. He was a very effective parliamentary opponent of the Congressional O'Hare expansion bill. I'm a Republican myself, but admit that in Illinois, powerful NIMBY-vote-dependent Republican statewide officials have been the problem re O'Hare.

Third--and this is just my gut, I haven't read anything on this--I wonder if enough powerful people in Illinois realized what a threat Detroit-Wayne County Airport is to O'Hare now.

DTW has an ideal runway layout. DTW has four--count 'em, four--beautiful widely-spaced parallel runways, the super-efficient "II II" arrangement. *Plus* two crosswind runways, one of which isn't intersecting. That's capability for five simultaneous a/c movements, which blows ORD out of the water.

The new WorldGateway makes DTW a top-quality connecting terminal. Plus, Northwest has a very dense DTW spoke system that covers the majority of ORD spoke markets, and gives DTW a lot of value as a hub. I'd certainly rather connect through DTW nowadays than ORD, if given the choice.

Peotone is an absolutely idiotic idea. An airport twice as far from the Loop as ORD, with no good expressway connection, and far from most ORD pax. There would be no good reason for any passenger airline to serve it. Ryan and Daley only came up with Peotone as a way to appease ORD expansion opponents when the balance of Illinois politics made it necessary. Now, the idea should be dropped and not a penny more wasted on it. A reconfigured ORD and MDW should be plenty to handle Chicagoland traffic.

And if anyone does want to fly to an airport way the hell away from downtown Chicago, at least use GYY which is up and running and close to an expressway.


Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
User currently offlineDCA-ROCguy From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 4647 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2429 times:

A small correction: I just checked the NACO-FAA chart and both of DTW's crosswind runways do intersect at least one of the main runways. So that means DTW can move four, not five, a/c simulatneously. But that still is twice O'Hare's capacity.


Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (12 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2374 times:

WN has as part of its agreement with the City of Chicago that if Peotone is built, they can leave MDW, and the City owes WN for all of the improvements that it has made since construction started on the new terminal in the late 90s. WN has said that if it leaves MDW, it would go to either MKE or Rockford.

This would be an empty threat on WN's part. There is no way they would do this, as Rockford and MKE are too far from where their current market is and they would have to spend the refund money from the city on building up those airports. For this they would have to move a whole hub to a site even farther away from the loop than Peotone.

The main reason the Peotone option has not gotten as much NIMBY opposition as the O'Hare expansion is that it has not progressed far enough along to be taken seriously. If there was actually a significant chance of this happening, believe me, people out their would be moanin' and a wailin'.

Another reason Peotone does not get as much opposition is because people in the area know that it will get next to no traffic. It would be another Mid-America. It would be lucky to get a single scheduled passenger flight, unless something was done to force airlines to move there. Such is the fate of airports that are unreasonably far away from the center of a metro area.

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