Meigs Closure Comes At A Price

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That price, to be paid by the nearly 3 million citizens of the city of Chicago for the decision made by its mayor, will be over $1 million. The final decision on what penalty the city will pay for bulldozing Meigs Field in the middle of the night in March 2003 was announced Monday by the FAA. Besides a $33,000 fine, the city must repay $1 million of airport funds that Mayor Richard M. Daley illegally diverted to pay for the destruction. Together with more than $550,000 spent fighting those penalties, the loss to the city totals about $1.6 million, according to AOPA. The city admitted no wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement. Still, the outcome "sends a clear signal to other cities that the FAA is serious about upholding its regulations," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. AOPA filed the original complaints that resulted in the fine and fund repayment. "Many of us always thought that the civil penalty of $1,100 per day was 'chump change' to a city with the budget of Chicago," said Boyer. Congress has since increased the fine to $10,000 per day, and advance notice of any proposed closure is required.