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Daley, Airline CEOs To Meet In Washington

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Mayor Richard Daley. (CBS)

Mayor Richard Daley. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – Former U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, who now serves as President Obama’s transportation secretary, is stepping in to mediate the ongoing feud between Mayor Daley and two major airlines.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports, LaHood has summoned them to Washington for a Wednesday meeting.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Last week, Mayor Daley complained the chief executive officers of United and American airlines were dragging their feet in meeting with him to iron out their differences over the next phase of O’Hare expansion.

He speculated that the airlines might be stalling until after he leaves office.

“I just wonder if they’re waiting for a certain date in February in the city of Chicago and saying that, ‘Maybe the mayor won’t be around,” Daley said. “I’ll be around until May 16.”

Daley had been scheduled to meet with the airlines last week to discuss the O’Hare Modernization Project, but the airlines called off the meeting.

Representatives for the airlines have said that Thursday’s meeting was canceled because of the blizzard that hit Chicago on Tuesday, forcing airlines to cancel virtually all flights in and out of Chicago from Tuesday afternoon last week until Wednesday night.

Last month, United and American filed a lawsuit to block the second phase of the expansion plan, arguing that contracts give them the authority to veto major O’Hare projects that would increase their operation costs. To help fund the plan, the city would increase landing fees and other taxes on the airlines.

LaHood reportedly has called them all to Washington to sit down and work out their differences outside of the courtroom.

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