Ryan, Daley keep jostling on approach to O'Hare

Wednesday, December 5, 2001

CHICAGO -- After months of negotiating with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's administration on an airport expansion plan, Gov. George Ryan has forged ahead without him.

Ryan, answering congressional pressure to deal with long delays at O'Hare International Airport, said Congress should pass legislation to expand O'Hare, build an airfield in the Chicago suburb of Peotone and keep Meigs Field open for the next 25 years.

The governor's proposal, expected to cost at least $6 billion, also includes a controversial south runway at O'Hare that will require the demolition of about 500 homes.

Ryan's proposal Monday is virtually identical to a deal with Daley that fell apart Thursday over who would pay to keep Meigs open. The commuter airfield on Chicago's lakefront is scheduled to be shut down in February and turned into a park.

A spokesman for Daley said Monday the mayor wouldn't comment on Ryan's plan.

Under Ryan's latest plan, construction on the southern runway wouldn't begin until 2011. His plan also includes soundproofing for homes and schools in the airport's flight paths.

The coalition of Chicago suburbs that opposes runway expansion at O'Hare was critical of Ryan's proposal because it would lock future leaders into the project.

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