Fri, Dec 17, 2004
FAA Looks Closely At Use Of Airport Funds
The FAA may be able to do what the AOPA and pilots throughout
Chicagoland haven't done yet -- make the Windy City pay for the
destruction of Meigs Field.
In fact, Chicago has already paid much more than originally
estimated for the stealth destruction of one of America's most
popular airstrips. The Chicago Tribune reports the cost of digging
up the runway and restoring Northerly Island to its original state
was almost double the first estimates -- $2.9 million. As ANN
reported earlier, the city admitted using $2.4 million in federal
funds specifically targeted for construction and improvements at
Chicago's two commercial fields, O'Hare and Midway. The rest came
from city coffers.
The FAA is now investigating the use of those funds and, if it
finds they were illegally diverted from their original purposes,
could fine Chicago triple the amount in question. In this case,
that would add up to $8.7 million.
Earlier, the FAA proposed fining the city $33,000 for not giving
30-days' notice before bulldozing Meigs last year. But, when the
city responded to that proposal by saying it spent FAA money to
clean up an "abandoned" airport, the FAA started digging deeper.
That investigation is still pending.
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