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Tue, Mar 03, 2009

FAA Approves Funding $182M OMP Design Drawings With Ticket Taxes

Construction Slated To Begin In 2010

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the expenditure of funds from airline passenger ticket taxes to pay for the design and engineering drawings of the first phase of the planned modernization project at Chicago's O'Hare Airport (ORD).

Airport officials announced Friday they received a $182 million budget -- derived from ticket taxes - for the design and engineering drawings for two new runways, an extension to an existing runway, and a planned western passenger terminal, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Although plans require major airlines using O'Hare to help pay for the mammoth $15 billion expansion of the airport, the airlines have refused to contribute to construction costs until the project is re-evaluated. While supportive of building additional runways, the airlines oppose the proposed new west terminal, objecting to its distance from the airport's main terminal.

As ANN previously reported, the O'Hare Modernization Project includes replacing four runways, decommissioning three runways, and extending two runways. The reconfiguration of the airport is estimated to increase the airport's capacity to over 3800 operations daily and cut delays by 79%, according to Airport-Technology reports.

The imminent relocation of 2,800 residents, two cemeteries and part of the Union Pacific railway has generated heated opposition and lawsuits from the affected nearby communities of Elk Grove and Bensenville. Despite the opposition, the OMP is slated to commence next year.

"The real story here is that OMP is nothing more than a $20 billion, taxpayer funded slush fund for politicians and their friends," Bensenville village president John Geils said. "The simple fact is that OMP is a runway to nowhere."

FMI: www.faa.org, www.ohare.com, www.stop-omp.org

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