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CHICAGO (CBS) – U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is introducing legislation that could lead to more privatization of public assets across the United States.
As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports from City Hall, Kirk says the nation could net $100 billion for new roads, airports and rail lines if Congress removed the restrictions on public-private partnerships.
This could mean privatization of airports and highway facilities.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
“One of the proposals is for the thousand rest areas that are in the United States. They are all owned by the government. There are 54 in the state of Illinois that cost the state of Illinois about $12 million to operate, so they’re net drains on the very strained finances of the state of Illinois,” Kirk said. “This would allow the state of Illinois to go into partnerships.”
Among the possibilities in the Chicago area would be privatizing Midway International Airport, which has been discussed previously. The City Council approved leasing the airport in 2008, but the deal fell apart after the city could not secure financing.
But Kirk’s bill could also lead to the privatization of O’Hare International Airport, which, like most airports, is currently barred from being privatized.
“We are running counter to the international trend,” Kirk said. “When you look at all the major international airports, you’ll see London, Paris, Rome, Beijing, all partnership airports now. You’ll see things like Terminal 4 at (New York’s) JFK, now is a partnership airport.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) last week proposed limits on privatization of public assets, but Kirk and U.S. Rep Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) believe that idea is going nowhere.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) is also backing Kirk’s measure.