New runway needed at O'Hare, study says

April 18, 2000

Chicago Sun Times

BY ROBERT C. HERGUTH TRANSPORTATION REPORTER

At least one new runway should be built at O'Hare Airport to spur economic development and handle growth, according to a study to be released this week.

Commissioned by the Commercial Club of Chicago's civic committee and completed by Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc., the study piggybacks on a similar report completed by the consultants two years ago and funded by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. "The ultimate conclusion is the same," said a source.

Officials with the City of Chicago, which runs O'Hare, say they haven't yet seen the new report but dispute the findings.

"The Department of Aviation believes that the current need at O'Hare is for additional gate space--not runways," said spokesman Gil Jimenez, noting the proposed $3 billion World Gateway Program would bring new gates and revamp terminals.

The 1998 report found that the construction of a third major airport would undermine O'Hare's success. The new study doesn't directly target Peotone.

O'Hare critics who support a Peotone site believe city officials have secretly planned for runway expansion to allow more flights--and therefore create more noise and crowding. But city officials have said there's no such plan and no need for new runways for the foreseeable future.

Commercial Club civic committee officials would not comment, saying the report will be released this week.