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July 10, 2001

O'Hare Area Lawmakers Briefed On City's O'Hare Plan - Governor asks IDOT to continue analysis

CHICAGO -- Gov. George H. Ryan hosted O'Hare area state lawmakers for an IDOT briefing on Mayor Daley's proposed runway expansion plan for O'Hare International Airport. The Governor instructed IDOT to continue working with the City to get more information on key areas including financing, construction phasing, noise impacts and delay reduction.

"Mayor Daley proposed a comprehensive plan, and I commend him for it. However there are many details we must gather to fully understand the costs and benefits of this proposal, " Gov. Ryan said. "I said I would take this proposal seriously and to do that, I need as much information as possible. This takes time, but a plan of this scale merits a detailed review."

Gov. Ryan did say he was disappointed with being asked to support a rail extension of Chicago's South Shore Railroad to the Gary-Chicago Airport, a project which might involve state dollars, to promote the Gary airport while the Peotone Airport project was not included in the proposal.

"I'm the governor of Illinois, I want to see the economic benefits of an airport come to Illinois not Indiana," Gov. Ryan said.

After receiving more details, the Governor said he looks forward to providing another briefing for interested lawmakers and to discussing the city's plan with Mayor Daley.

"I appreciate all of the effort the mayor put into this program and as always, I believe we will be able to work together on this important issue," Gov. Ryan said.

State transportation officials will meet with city officials to seek more information on several key areas, including:

  • Delay reduction. The state would like more information on the data supporting the City's estimate of 79 percent delay reduction.

  • On-Airport Financial Details. The state is seeking more details on the cost estimates for the proposal and the financial plan for the airfield improvements, including how much the city hopes to receive from federal, airline and passenger facility charge sources.

  • Off Airport Costs. Several major ground transportation improvements were proposed in the city's plan, including the CTA Blue Line to Schaumburg; an O'Hare Western Bypass; additional lanes to I-190 and the Northwest Tollway, and CTA express trains to O'Hare and Midway. However, none of the proposed projects had funding sources identified. The total costs for all of the proposed ground transportation improvements could be more than $3 billion.

  • Safety issues. The state wants to hear more about proposed runway and taxiway crossings as well as how the proposal addresses FAA required runway safety areas.

  • Noise. The City of Chicago and the airlines have one of the largest home and school sound insulation programs in the nation. A key question will be whether expanding that program will be part of this proposal.

  • Schedule. The City is proposing an aggressive construction schedule. The state will seek more information on the phasing in the proposal.

"Once again, I want to commend Mayor Daley and the city for the work they have put into this proposal and I look forward to working with him on this issue," Gov . Ryan said.


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