May 17, 2001

Chicago Sun-Times

Ryan challenges Daley on runways

May 17, 2001


SPRINGFIELD--Trying to force Mayor Daley's hand, Gov. Ryan on Wednesday called on City Hall to specifically show the state where new runways would be built at O'Hare.

Ryan's request came after the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago took out full-page newspaper advertisements this week calling for a new O'Hare runway, and after a Sun-Times report Wednesday about possible new interest in the issue by Senate President James "Pate" Philip (R-Wood Dale).

"I'm opposed to runways but not opposed to looking at a plan," Ryan told reporters during a mini-Taste of Chicago that Daley and the governor attended.

Ryan said he directed Transportation Secretary Kirk Brown to seek a specific runway proposal from the Daley administration.

"I'd be glad to look at it. I doubt it would change my mind. But I want to see what it is, and what the configuration is," Ryan said. "Based on what the Civic Club has said and what Pate has said now, if I'm going to be accused of being against runways, somebody ought to give me a plan to be against."

Mingling among a crowded mix of state lawmakers and lobbyists, Daley shooed away reporters seeking reaction.

"We haven't seen what the governor is proposing, and we'd like to see what it is and get a chance to analyze," Daley's spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard said.

Deputy Aviation Commissioner Robert Repel said the city probably wouldn't be able to provide a runway blueprint for several months, perhaps as late as the fall.

"We want to have everybody who is a stakeholder take a look at this, and we want to look not only at what would happen with regards to doing away with delays at the airport, but also what environmental impacts might occur," Repel said.

Philip suggested this week that mayors near O'Hare might be open to discussing a runway to cope with delays if there were ironclad caps on flights and a reduction of jet noise levels.

Ryan said Philip's comments "may be an opportunity for us to start some dialogue."

[Chicago ATC News]