Topic Author
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Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am

Blagojevich Victory May Help O'Hare Expansion

Fri Nov 08, 2002 12:33 am

Dear Gang,

One victory in the US elections may prove to be an aviation bright spot. In Illinois, Chicago Democrat Rod Blagojevich won the governorship. As followers of the O'Hare airport saga know, a major reason that ORD has remained so congested is the political balance of Illinois: The Democrat-dominated City of Chicago runs the airport, which is located in the heavily Republican northwest suburbs. For three decades, the state has had Republican governors who depended upon northwest suburban NIMBY votes. So the airport still has its 1960's-era, traffic-snarling snowflake runway pattern.

As a Congressman, Blagojevich strongly supported the Daley-Ryan plan to modernize O'Hare. The whole reason that Mayor Daley, and outgoing Republican Gov. George Ryan (who no longer had anything to lose), got together with Illinois' Democratic Sen. Durbin, (and senators of both parties around the Midwest), to come up with Federal legislation protecting the plan was....to protect O'Hare expansion from future Republican Illinois governors!

The legislation passed the US House but was blocked in the Senate by Illinois NIMBY-champion Republican Peter Fitzgerald. So Durbin, Iowa Sens. Grassley and Harkin, and other O'Hare expansion supporters will need to start over in the spring. For now, though, there's not the urgency there was this past year, where it looked like O'Hare expansion depended upon getting the Daley-Ryan plan legislation approved by Congress before Ryan leaves office. We have a few years to work with if needed.

Even if airline travel remains weak, of course the plan should still be pushed strongly. O'Hare's location and market base will keep it a superhub airport regardless of, say, UA's fate. The snowflake runway pattern has to go, in order to protect jobs and keep a major national airport strong--even if there isn't any growth for a few years.

I'll note that as a Republican, I'm very happy with the Republican victory in the US Congress. But in this race, there may be the above bright spot from the Democratic victory.

Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
Posts: 2822
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2000 1:51 am

RE: Blagojevich Victory May Help O'Hare Expansion

Fri Nov 08, 2002 12:49 am


I couldn't agree with you more. Despite being Middle-of-the-Road, the O'Hare Modernization Project (OMP to those of us who work on it) needed a democrat governor in Springfield to ensure that its implementation went more smoothly. Of course we'd still need that vote to pass in Congress, but it should be smoother sailing now with Blagojevich in office.

I also agree that regardless of UA's fate, the ORD runway layout must be changed (even if the terminal additions are put off until later). If UA goes down, I'm sure another airline will pick up its slack. ORD is the nation's number 1 hub airport and it should be improved to maintain that status.
Tan Flyr
Posts: 1638
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2000 11:07 pm

RE: Blagojevich Victory May Help O'Hare Expansion

Fri Nov 08, 2002 12:58 am

Well put Jim. I couldn't agree with you more.

The one thing I have never understood..is the NIMBY's ( of any party) that move near an airport/freeway/rail mainline/whatever..then bitch about the noise/traffic/congestion/pollution..and then expect/demand that the taxpayer pick up the tab to insulate them from the malady they are complaining about.

anyway..lets all hope this plan gets on track (pardon the rail pun!)!


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