Mon, Jan 12, 2009
Decision Puts $20 Billion OMP In Doubt
In a major setback for plans to expand Chicago O'Hare Airport,
the Illinois appeals court on Thursday prevented the razing of the
northeast part of the nearby Village of Bensenville.
As ANN reported, beginning in 2005 the City of
Chicago forced some 500 families out of their homes in anticipation
of the $20 billion O'Hare Modernization Program. The city wants to
bulldoze the empty houses to clear the way for expanding the busy
airport, but opponents to that plan -- including current
Bensenville residents, who'd prefer not to have to move -- cite the
potential for "severe consequences to public health" if those old
homes are torn down.
Understandably, village President John Geils called the court
decision a victory for residents of his community. "On top of
commandeering our neighborhoods, the City of Chicago has been
planning to risk the health and safety of Bensenville residents.
The city's planned actions are reckless and deplorable, and the
Illinois Court of Appeals is right to stop them."
Opponents to the expansion plan note work on the O'Hare
expansion has not begun, and funding for the $20 billion project
has not been secured. They also say FAA studies show that the
expansion will not provide any significant improvement of airline
delays at O'Hare; to the contrary, aviation experts say that OMP
will instead produce massive delays and increase costs for both
consumers and airlines during and after initial construction.
In addition, the airlines, including United Airlines and
American Airlines, have called the OMP plan "ill-conceived" and
"The real story here is that OMP is nothing more than a $20
billion, taxpayer funded slush fund for politicians and their
friends," says Geils. "The simple fact is that OMP is a runway to
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