2002-11-23 / Community

Chicago Airport Expansion Bill DOA

Chicago Airport Expansion Bill DOA

An airport expansion bill that was directed at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is dead in the water and will not be passed this year, according to congressional experts.

While the bill specifically targeted O’Hare, many local aviation activists argued that it would one-day impact John F. Kennedy Airport as well.

The bill would allow the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to make many of the decisions regarding airport expansion that are now made by local and state agencies.

One of the original sponsors of the bill is Congressman Gregory Meeks, who represents much of the east end of the Rockaway peninsula, and who has said that he favors expansion of JFK Airport in order to create economic development in the Jamaica area.

Congressman Anthony Weiner is also a supporter of the bill. He told The Wave in an interview that the delegation from Illinois favors the bill and that it would not impact local airports.

Lawmakers who sponsored the bill said this week that they would reintroduce it in the next Congress.

"I don’t know that there is anything that can happen in the closing hours of the Senate, now that the House is gone," Senator Dick Durbin, one of the bill’s sponsors told reporters. "It’s very unlikely that it could happen now in the Senate."

"I’ll reintroduce the bill in the next session of Congress," Representative Bill Lipinski, the senior Democrat on the House Transportation Subcommittee and one of the major supporters of the bill said. "I assume that it will pass the house, but I don’t know what the situation is in the Senate."

The bill received overwhelming support in the House of Representatives, but has stalled in the Senate. Both bills would bar future Illinois governors from blocking the airport expansion once it is passed.

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