Illinois Legislators Label O'Hare Expansion Plan as Runway to Nowhere

Tell Congress to reject funding of project


WASHINGTON , Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bensenville, Illinois Village President John Geils was in the nation's capital today briefing Members of Congress and their staff on the issues surrounding the flawed O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP). Earlier Thursday, Geils had participated in a press conference sponsored by the taxpayer watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste, where the OMP was identified as potentially the largest taxpayer pork project ever.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090212/DC70184 )

"The reason I'm here is to make certain these legislators understand how fundamentally flawed the $20 billion OMP is," said Bensenville Village President John Geils . "Mayor Daley came out here earlier this week touting the OMP as the answer to O'Hare's traffic issues. The truth is OMP is not a valid solution to the delay or congestion issues at O'Hare according to aviation experts and studies conducted over the past several years. What's more, there is no money to pay for the Mayor Daley's pet project, nor should there be."

The OMP has long 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 the O'Hare expansion. O'Hare gates leased to United Airlines and American Airlines are already underutilized and the airlines are making more cuts, trimming their schedules by about 15 percent.

"I appreciate the Members of Congress who took the time to meet with our delegation from Bensenville and understand the real issues surrounding the Mayor's expansion plan. Given the Governor's recent impeachment, the indictments of his associates, many in relation to the OMP, certainly casts a shadow of corruption - and Members recognized that," continued Geils. "We came here to tell the truth about OMP, and we did that."

Meanwhile, a federal investigation is under way into how five construction companies whose owners are friends or associates of Mayor Daley secured hundreds of millions of dollars in construction work at O'Hare, according to the Chicago Sun-Times ["Blago probe hits city, O'Hare deals," 12 February 2009 ]. The probe comes two days after Daley lobbied Congress to secure federal funding for OMP and is linked to a broader investigation of former Governor Rod Blagojevich .

The O'Hare Modernization Project has also been denounced for fundamental design flaws, including planes having an additional 45 minute taxi time due to major airport choke points, long rides between terminals - often longer than the scheduled time of a flight - and baggage transfer issues from one terminal to the next. A proposed new terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta has an estimated cost of $500 million, a fraction of the projected $20 billion OMP cost.

www.stop-omp.org is dedicated to stopping the senseless, ill-advised and flawed O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP) and preventing further unnecessary displacement of families and waste of taxpayer dollars. Community leaders, concerned citizens, aviation industry leaders and economic experts continue to urge the FAA to adopt viable alternatives. These include runway configurations proposed by the Chicago air traffic controllers, use of congestion management techniques, reliance on other nearby airports, and construction of a third airport.

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