O'Hare's Expansion Plan Shelved

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After months of debate on the proposed expansion of Chicago's O'Hare International airport, reports hint that the entire program is now shelved for the foreseeable future. The Chicago Tribune reported earlier this week that the $6 billion project has been quietly put on the back burner. While the increased size of the airport was always a hot issue, the recent financial pounding on the airline industry -- particularly United Air Lines - helped shelve it. United Air Lines is in bankruptcy, with American, O'Hare's second-largest tenant, also on the financial ropes. Sen. Dick Durbin, a major supporter of the expansion plan, admitted last week that he can't push a vote for O'Hare expansion through Congress. This report comes before a scheduled presentation where the FAA and the Chicago Department of Aviation will simultaneously host public outreach sessions on the expansion plans. The events, scheduled for March 19, will update the public on the environmental-analysis process and planning efforts completed at this time for the O'Hare Modernization Program. The reported shelving of O'Hare's expansion comes as welcome news to those supporters of a new airport project in the nearby city of Peotone. Mayors of Park Ridge, Bensenville and Elk Grove Village want, and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has expressed, a renewed bid to build this reliever airport.