Say Now's Not The Time To Push Tax Increases To Pay For It
Even as Chicago city workers fear job cuts and suffer
furloughs, the O'Hare Modernization Project is still moving
According to opponents of the expansion plan, the city of
Chicago faces one of its worst economic situations ever and is more
than $450 million in the red... perhaps not an ideal time to push
forward with a multi-billion-dollar, largely taxpayer-supported
plan to expand what is already one of the nation's largest
As ANN reported last week, an Illinois appeals
court upheld protests by homeowners in the Village of Bensenville,
temporarily halting the razing of homes in the area to make room
for the planned expansion.
Officials are also working to secure the balance of the
estimated $20 billion needed to fund the project, and they're
considering $740 million in new bonds to get there. That's on top
of "massive" tax increases enacted last year.
"Cook County taxpayers are being burdened with the highest sales
tax increase in the country, the City of Chicago is raising taxes
on everything from bottled water to parking meters, and they want
to spend billions more on an ill-conceived plan that will only
serve to enrich a select group of political insiders?" says Cook
County Commissioner Tony Peraica.
The OMP has already been criticized and questioned by the six
major airlines who service O'Hare Airport. The slumping airline
industry, which is making long-lasting cuts in fleets and labor
forces, says it is in no position to commit to any more than the
initial phase of startup funding for O'Hare expansion.
Neighbors from Park Ridge, Des Plaines and other towns near
O'Hare assert they're experiencing much higher noise levels than
expected, from what say are as many as 350 flights per day
departing from the airport's new "bad weather" runway --
significantly higher than the Chicago environmental impact
statement expected, opponents say.
The Villages of Elk Grove and Bensenville that border the
airport have consistently questioned the feasibility of the
project. Many community leaders have pointed out the O'Hare
mega-project simply doesn't make sense.
"We're in a recession. How does boarding up houses for
unnecessary and unwanted airport expansion help communities? Anyone
who has followed this project knows its planning and implementation
simply won't help the flight delay situation at O'Hare Airport,"
says John Geils, president of the Village of Bensenville. "This is
not the time, or the way, to move forward with a lackluster plan
that will sink our economy further into debt."
"This project has an estimated $20 billion price tag and nobody
can accurately predict what the value will be," continues Geils.
"Supporters want taxpayers to pick up the cost of the O'Hare
project in the midst of job cuts and profound financial insecurity.
Save the jobs. End the expansion."