Sun, Feb 08, 2009
Rep. Jackson Voices Opposition To Using Taxpayer Money For
Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) spoke out Friday against
Republican colleague Mark Kirk's comments in the Chicago Tribune
suggesting that Illinois' share of the Stimulus Package be used to
expand O'Hare. Rep. Kirk voted against the Stimulus Package that
would bring $22 billion to Illinois and instead suggested that the
government fully fund the $20 billion O'Hare Modernization
"At a time when citizens all throughout our state are in
desperate need of an economic life raft, Congressman Kirk's plan
leaves our citizens stranded at O'Hare," said Rep. Jackson.
"The Stimulus Package approved by Congress would bring $22
billion to Illinois to modernize schools, repair roads, improve
hospitals and put people to work. Congressman Kirk prefers giving
that money to the O'Hare Modernization Program -- thus depriving
children, seniors and needy people of vital services."
Rep. Jackson went on to say, "There is a better alternative for
adding 100,000 flights per year to Illinois. O'Hare expansion will
cost $20 billion. The proposed Abraham Lincoln National Airport
would add the same number flights for a fraction of the cost --
about $500 million. And that money comes from private investors --
Work on the next phase of the O'Hare expansion has not begun and
funding for the $20-billion Program has not been secured.
Critics of the plan cite FAA studies, which
show the expansion would not provide any significant improvement of
airline delays or alleviate congestion at O'Hare.
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 "premature."
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