According to the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Daley needs to raise 1 billion dollars to keep construction going on the O’Hare Airport expansion project.  The city is running out of money and the two major airlines- United and American- have refused to sign off on financing the project.  A total of 3.3 billion dollars is needed to finish the runway expansion and building of a Western Terminal- a terminal used by airlines other than United and American.

They mayor wants the two airline giants to help pay for a terminal they will not use.  Typical.  Mayor Daley wakes up one morning and decides he wants something- airport expansion, the Olympics, hired trucks… then, in the blink of an eye millions or billions appropriated- and much of it wasted or stolen.  He gets his fifty stooges in the city council to pass it- and before you can say boodle or boondoggle, his wish is his command.

Now, he has a rather pesky little problem.  The city signed a contract with the airlines in 2005.  “The contract bars the city from funding construction with bonds paid by airline landing fees and terminal rents, without first gaining the consent of carriers accounting for a majority of O’Hare operations.”  Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino is risking a court battle to get the mayor his wish.  Los Angeles recently lost a similar fight with the airlines in court.

The bottom line to all this- who pays?  If the airlines do not put money into the pot, the taxpayers will get stuck with the bill.  If the airlines fall in line, and there is not an increase in capacity at Ohare, they will raise all kinds of fees and prices.  The consumer gets stuck with the bill.  Either way, we all pay for King Richard’s folly. 

This is the problem with putting a regime in place.  The almighty ruler gets to bull his way through, regardless of the harm created.  His fifty court jesters go along with the program.  The feudal king cares not for the serfs or anyone else.  What he wants, he gets.  Needed or not.  The city will get its bond money.  The airlines better pony up.  O’Hare will get its runways and terminal.  King Richard will be happy.  That is all that really counts.

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About Peter V. Bella

Peter V. Bella is a passionate cook and photographer. Mr. Bella started cooking as a child with his parents. He has taken professional courses through the years. Mr. Bella a a freelance photojournalist and writer based in Chicago.
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