The fact that Richie Daley probably steered contracts at O'Hare to friends and supporters doesn't change the fact that the Chicago area needs more airport capacity.
Nor does it change the fact that expansion of ORD
is better than building a 3rd airport in Peotone.
First, Peotone is more than twice the distance from downtown Chicago as compared to ORD
Second, there is no rail link to Peotone from downtown. Not only are there rapid transit lines that connect downtown with both ORD
, but there is a commuter rail line that stops at remote parking at ORD
Third, there is no direct highway route that links the western suburbs with Peotone. There are a number of corporate headquarters and offices, including McDonald's, BP
North America, Navistar, Molex, and Lucent located in the western suburbs. They have very easy access to ORD
, with travel times of 30 to 60 minutes, but driving to Peotone would take 75 to 90 minutes and longer during rush hour, unless Interstate 355 is extended from I-55 to I-57. The extension to I-80 started last fall and is expected to be finished by 2008, but that project was supposed to start nearly 10 years ago. Who knows when the environmental impact study for the extension to I-57 will take place.
Fourth, the airlines don't want to go to Peotone. B6
has only moderate interest in MDW
. It wants 4 or 5 gates at ORD
to start a focus-city operation. Why build an airport that no one wants to use?
expansion will go over budget. All projects in Chicago do. But I would rather see an over-budget expansion of ORD
that will be utilized, rather than a white elephant at Peotone.