May 22, 2001

Chicago Sun-Times

40% of area residents count on mayor to find a solution


Mayor Daley is the clear choice for resolving the nagging O'Hare Airport congestion question, according to a poll of Chicago area residents.

According to a CBS 2/Sun-Times survey conducted Monday, 40 percent of Chicago area residents answered "Daley" when asked whom they had the most confidence in to help solve congestion problems at O'Hare.

All other options paled by comparison. Just 10 percent answered Gov. Ryan, 14 percent said the federal government and 12 percent said they had confidence all three could do the job.

However, the poll results also show that 23 percent believe none of them can address the problem.

There have been indications from Washington that lawmakers there want to get involved. In late April, two U.S. senators from Iowa--Charles E. Grassley, a Republican, and Tom Harkin, a Democrat--circulated a letter designed to pressure the Transportation Department and the Federal Aviation Administration to make new runways at O'Hare the "highest priority."

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) initially attacked the idea, citing local control issues. But on Sunday, Durbin said if Illinois politicians cannot resolve the debate over expanding O'Hare by July 1, Congress should get involved.

Of the Chicago area residents who were asked whether the federal government should get involved if local leaders fail to reach a conclusion on the issue, 52 percent responded yes.

An overwhelming 66 percent of the respondents also said they believed the problems at O'Hare should have been dealt with years ago.

The poll surveyed 500 Chicago area residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. It was conducted by Survey USA.

[Chicago ATC News]