27 January 2011

Cemetery to be Cleared and Airlines sue city to prevent O’Hare expansion

This is an odd combination of news stories and the hat tip goes to the Roe & Roeper show on WLS-AM Chicago.  The primary tenants of O'Hare field have no need for more space.  As a matter of fact, in the second story, they are suing the city to prevent additional expansion.  Combine that with the city taking a cemetery for the expansion, and fighting a Church for ten years to expand an airport that does not need expanding and we have a picture of overbearing, out-of-control government.

Flight of the Living Dead
Bodies to remain in place until after Rham Emanuel Election!
State Supreme Court Clears Path for O’Hare Expansion, Cemetery Demolition - My Fox Chicago
Chicago - In a legal battle close to entering its 10th year, the Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a petition filed by a Bensenville church to stop the city from acquiring church property and relocating bodies in its cemetery to complete an O'Hare runway.

The decision allows the City of Chicago to regain title and possession of St. Johannes Cemetery, which the city says is critical to the completion of the O'Hare Modernization Program, a release from the city's Dept. of Aviation said.

St. John's United Church of Christ in Bensenville -- which owns the 1,100-grave burial ground -- had fought the acquisition, arguing it would cause great grief for families of those buried there.

The cemetery is the middle of the runway under construction — surrounded by dump trucks, FedEx planes and clouds of dust.

"We are pleased with the Illinois Supreme Court ruling, which allows us to move forward with the acquisition and relocation of St. Johannes cemetery," said Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner of the Chicago Dept. of Aviation, in the release. "We realize this is a very sensitive matter and we remain committed to working closely with the families, as well as the officials from the Church, during the relocation process."
In a related story, the firms that actually use the airport say they do not want an expansion -
Airlines sue city to prevent O’Hare expansion bonds - Chicago Sun-Times:
"United Airlines and American Airlines jointly filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court on Tuesday to block Mayor Daley’s plan to proceed with a second phase of the O’Hare Airport expansion plan without approval from both airlines, which together account for about 80 percent of the passenger traffic at O’Hare.

The two carriers said they were forced to file suit now to prevent the city from issuing bonds in the near future that would be used to finance the estimated $3.36 billion cost of the project’s second phase.

In response, city aviation commissioner Rosemarie Andolino said in a statement: “The city of Chicago continues to move forward to secure funding for the O’Hare Modernization Program and believes it has the right to do so.” The O’Hare project will create jobs and stimulate the economy at a time when it is needed, Andolino said, adding she was still willing to discuss modernizing O’Hare with airlines serving the airport.

In their court filing, United and American contend they would be on the hook for at least 58 percent of the cost of Phase Two of the O’Hare modernization, which includes additional runways and taxiways and other airport infrastructure improvements."
Scott Slater

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