CHICAGO – Governor George H. Ryan and Mayor Richard M. Daley will travel to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to lobby Congress to pass into law their recent air transportation agreement to create jobs and economic opportunity by modernizing O’Hare, building an airport in Peotone and keeping Meigs Field open.
“Mayor Daley and I agreed to this plan for the long term economic benefit for Chicago, Illinois and the entire Midwest region,” said Governor Ryan. “This is about jobs, jobs and jobs. We hope Congress will put our agreement into law to provide the project with the commitment it needs to be completed over the next 15 – 20 years.”
"Governor Ryan and I agree that an efficient, high-capacity airport system is absolutely vital to the continued economic vitality not just of Chicago but of the entire state of Illinois. Unless we make these investments, the problems of delays and congestion will undermine the ability of O'Hare Airport to compete both nationally and around the world," said Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Governor Ryan and Mayor Daley will meet with key congressional leaders including House Speaker Dennis Hastert, (R-IL) and U.S. Sen. John McCain, (R-Ariz.), as well as with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-IL) and U.S. Rep. Bill Lipinski, (D-IL) the lead sponsors for the aviation package on Capitol Hill.
Gov. Ryan, Mayor Daley, Sen. Durbin and U.S. Rep. Lipinski will meet at 1:45 on Wednesday at Sen. Durbin's office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and hold a media availability. For more information contact Joe Shoemaker at Sen. Durbin's office, (202) 224-7028.
Last December, Governor Ryan and Mayor Daley came to an agreement on the comprehensive regional airport plan. Provisions of the plan include:
- Modernizing O’Hare by reconfiguring the seven existing runways. An additional southern runway will be built, but not before 2011.
- Western road-access to O’Hare.
- An additional $450 million will be invested to soundproof homes and schools near O’Hare.
- Meigs Field will remain open for 25 years, unless after January 1, 2006 the General Assembly passes a bill closing it and the Governor at that time signs it into law.
- The City will join the state in supporting federal funds for constructing an airport in Peotone. The FAA would expedite the review and approval process for the O'Hare and Peotone plans.