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Report: O’Hare Expansion Bonds Downgraded

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United Airlines at O'Hare (ORD) Airport

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CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – A published report indicates that the O’Hare expansion project might be hurting the city’s financial standing.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports, the Chicago Tribune says Moody’s has downgraded some of the bonds the Chicago Department of Aviation has used to help pay for the O’Hare Modernization Program and other endeavors.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports

Moody’s says it took the action primarily because the city has been unable to get financial support from the airlines.

United and American airlines say while they continue to back new runways at O’Hare International Airport, sources have told the Tribune the airlines contend that the project as currently constituted is not fiscally responsible.

They have also reportedly warned of legal action in regard to future bond sales.

Earlier this year, the City Council approved a plan to issue $1 billion in bonds for the O’Hare expansion project.

The project calls for building one new runway, extending another runway and relocating a third. A new northern runway opened in November2008, and about 500 former homes and businesses in west suburban Bensenville are being demolished to make way for the expanded airport.

St. Johannes Cemetery is also being moved for the project.

But overall, the $15 billion expansion project is still less than halfway done.

With Mayor Richard M. Daley set to leave office, it’s not known how committed his successor will be to O’Hare expansion.

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