The expansion of O’Hare International Airport is still years away from completion, but the city is now hoping to borrow a substantial sum to keep the project going.
The problem is resistance from airlines. The city is trying to get American and United airlines to help pay for a new western terminal that would be used primarily by other carriers. The airlines are also refusing to give approval to the last three new runways, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Because of this, Mayor Richard M. Daley is seeking to buy some time. The Tribune reports the Daley administration will try to convince aldermen to issue $1 billion in new bonds for the O’Hare Modernization Project.
The city and United are mulling over a compromise that would delay development of the new terminal until flights reach a preset level, the Tribune reported.
The Tribune reports the city will need at least $3.3 billion in additional funding to finish the expansion project. This would not include the new terminals, an extension of the People Mover shuttle between the terminals, and other plans that were once considered essential, according to the Tribune.
The project has calls for building one new runway, extending another runway and relocating a third. A new northern runway opened in November 2008, and about 500 former homes and businesses in west suburban Bensenville are being demolished to make way for the expanded airport.
But, the Tribune points out, the $15 billion expansion project is still less than halfway done.
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