WBEZ | Midway Airport http://www.wbez.org/tags/midway-airport Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mayor's borrowing authority hiked by council http://www.wbez.org/news/mayors-borrowing-authority-hiked-council-109644 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP168520649673_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago aldermen today gave Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration its final okay to borrow up to $900 million dollars to pay for city equipment, capital projects, and legal settlements, and to refinance old debt.</p><p>The City Council also approved another $1 billion in borrowing for Midway Airport, and agreed to double the city&rsquo;s short-term borrowing limit from the current $500 million to $1 billion.</p><p>The borrowing plans all passed on a 43-4 vote, with no debate.</p><p>Alderman John Arena (45th Ward) said he voted no because the Emanuel administration did not give specifics on exactly how the newly borrowed money would be spent.</p><p>&ldquo;Unless we have a real debate on this, a real dialogue, and get real information from the administration in real time -- and enough time to make an educated vote -- then I&rsquo;m gonna continue to vote no on these types of things,&rdquo; Arena said after the vote.</p><p>Also voting against the borrowing plans were 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly, 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack and 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti. Ed Burke, the alderman of the 14th Ward and chairman of the powerful Finance Committee that held a hearing on the borrowing plans, abstained from voting.</p><p>Though the city got the council&rsquo;s authorization to issue up to $900 million on bonds, the Emanuel administration will likely issue about $650 million, said city Finance Department spokeswoman Kelley Quinn. About $349 million of that would help pay for legal settlements, capital projects, and so-called &ldquo;aldermanic menu&rdquo; accounts that aldermen use at their discretion to fund projects in their wards.</p><p>But some financial watchdogs have raised concerns about the other roughly $301 million in borrowing, which will be used to restructure debt. At least some of that -- up to $130 million -- could be used to push upcoming debt payments off into the future. That means the city saves money with smaller payments in the short term, but ends up paying more in the long-run.</p><p>The city will likely issue $550 million of the Midway Airport bonds for upgrades to runways and taxiways, Quinn said.</p><p>The short-term credit extension doubles the amount of so-called &ldquo;commercial paper&rdquo; the city can borrow. It is often used to cover city operations.</p><p>The first bond issue, set for March, will mark Chicago&rsquo;s first test of the municipal bond market since July, when Moody&rsquo;s Investors Service <a href="https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-Chicago-to-A3-from-Aa3-affecting-82-billion--PR_278069">hit the city</a> with a triple downgrade of its bond rating, citing the city&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/experts-say-chicago-has-public-pension-system-set-fail-109329">massive pension problems</a>.</p><p>Much like a person with a bad credit score, governments with low bond ratings have to pay higher interest rates when they borrow money.</p><p>Emanuel defended his borrowing requests after Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council meeting as the usual course of government business.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s typical efforts to invest in our streets, our sidewalks, light poles -- all the other infrastructure that improves our neighborhoods,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>Emanuel added the city&rsquo;s budget problems are deep enough that it will take time to dig out of them.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe" target="_blank">Alex Keefe</a>&nbsp;is a political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 05 Feb 2014 16:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayors-borrowing-authority-hiked-council-109644 FAA OKs request to privatize Midway http://www.wbez.org/news/faa-oks-request-privatize-midway-105027 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/airplane.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Federal authorities have given a green light to Chicago to press ahead with plans to privatize Midway International Airport.</p><p>The Federal Aviation Administration says Friday in a statement that the city &quot;can take the next steps to select a private airport operator&quot; after the agency accepted a preliminary application to privatize Chicago&#39;s second largest airport.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel said last month he&#39;s seeking private bidders interested in leasing Midway for up to 40 years. He wants enough cash from the deal to pay off Midway&#39;s roughly $1.4 billion debt. There&#39;d be a split of profits with the private operator.</p><p>Emanuel proposed a panel of City Council members, business leaders and labor representatives to oversee the process.</p><p>He says a &quot;Traveler&#39;s Bill of Rights&quot; would be part of any deal.</p></p> Fri, 18 Jan 2013 14:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/faa-oks-request-privatize-midway-105027 Midway Airport back in business after power outage http://www.wbez.org/news/midway-airport-back-business-after-power-outage-100527 <p><p>Planes are flying again at Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;Midway&nbsp;International&nbsp;Airport&nbsp;after a nearly four-hour shutdown caused by a lack of runway lights.</p><p>Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Karen Pride says a problem with the lighting equipment caused the outage at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Pride says 85 flights were canceled or diverted while the&nbsp;airport&nbsp;was closed.</p><p>Flights resumed early Friday, and airlines are working to get back on schedule.</p><p>The outage didn&#39;t affect the terminals, so passengers aboard planes when the runways went dark were returned to the terminals and taken off the planes.</p><p>Commonwealth Edison spokeswoman Martha Swaney says the outage wasn&#39;t caused by a ComEd power failure, but she says the utility&#39;s crews worked with&nbsp;Midway&#39;s&nbsp;personnel to help them get their equipment working again.</p></p> Fri, 29 Jun 2012 08:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/midway-airport-back-business-after-power-outage-100527 Will Midway Airport project bring down an historic 1920s Clearing neighborhood building? http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2012-02-12/will-midway-airport-project-bring-down-historic-1920s-clearing-neighborhood- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-13/McClellan builgind_Lee Bey.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-12/untitled shoot-009.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 299px;" title=""></p><p>These are rough times, as of late, for buildings designed by architect Edward G. McClellan.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2012-02-02/79th-street-architecture-lost-when-walls-came-tumbling-down-96041">This month, the city demolished</a> a beautiful but vacant three-story corner building designed by McClellan at 79th and Halsted after a portion of the structure collapsed and injured four passersby. And now, an occupied corner commercial building--designed by the same architect--in the Southwest Side neighborhood of Clearing would be razed under a plan to create a safety buffer around Midway Airport.</p><p class="NormalParagraphStyle">The 84-year-old Crane and Moreland building, 63rd and Central, sits across from the western edge of the airport. City officials fear that proximity places the building--and four properties surrounding the airport--in danger of being hit by planes landing or taking off. Six years ago, a plane at Midway overshot a runway and struck a car killing a six-year-old boy.</p><p class="NormalParagraphStyle">In a Chicago <em>Sun-Times</em> report last November, a city aviation official said acquiring the building "is quite critical — not only for runway protection zones, but also to improve the navigation approach path for aircraft to that runway." The building was completed the same year Midway opened.&nbsp;</p><p class="NormalParagraphStyle">Clearing neighborhood residents are protesting the planned demolition and it's easy to see why. The three-store Baroque Revival building is rich in architectural details. much like McClellan's now-gone 79th and Halsted building. A drugstore anchors the building's corner and there are a variety of other small businesses there. And look at this entrance to the apartments above:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-12/untitled shoot-024.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 640px;" title=""></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-12/untitled shoot-029.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 611px;" title=""></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-12/untitled shoot-015.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 328px;" title=""></p><p>The building is rated "orange" in the city's <a href="http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/landmarksearchWeb/">Chicago Historic Resources survey</a>, which is good news for preservationists. The rating means the building has "potentially significant architectural or historical features" and if a demolition permit is pulled, the application is subject to a 90-day review in which the city's Housing and Economic Development department can--if it chooses--seek away to preserve the structure, including landmarking.</p></p> Sun, 12 Feb 2012 16:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2012-02-12/will-midway-airport-project-bring-down-historic-1920s-clearing-neighborhood- So what would the Chicago-area casino map look like if Illinois Senate Bill 744 becomes law? http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-06-07/so-what-would-chicago-area-casino-map-look-if-illinois-senate-bill-74 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-06/Casino Slot Machines_Getty_Christopher Furlong.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-06/Blackjack Table_Getty_Joe Raedle.jpg" style="width: 495px; height: 330px;" title="(Getty/Joe Raedle)"></p><p>As Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn considers whether to sign or veto a new bill that would expand gambling facilities in the state, we wanted to see what the Chicago-area casino gaming picture would look like if the bill became law.</p><p>If you've been following along, you know that Senate Bill 744 aims to allow the creation of:</p><p>1) A new Chicago casino.&nbsp; This is the big one and it includes a provision that allows for the creation of the Chicago Casino Development Authority, which would market and oversee a casino within the city limits of Chicago.</p><p>2) Four new riverboat casinos in northern and central Illinois, to be located variously in Danville, Park City, Rockford, and in a community in Cook County's southern suburbs.</p><p>3) Electronic gaming machines at Illinois horse racing facilities.</p><p>4) Electronic gaming machines at Chicago's passenger airports (O'Hare and Midway).</p><p>5) Electronic gaming machines at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL.</p><p>6) Expanded gaming positions at existing riverboat casinos, increasing the current limit of 1,200 positions to a maximum of 2,000.</p><p>So what's that add up to in the Chicago area?&nbsp;</p><p>If all goes according to plan, 21 gaming facilities would be within 90 minutes of downtown Chicago.&nbsp; That includes all existing casinos, new riverboats, the Chicago casino, the slot machines at racetracks and airports, as well as casinos in Milwaukee, Northwest Indiana and New Buffalo.</p><p>Here's a look at current, future and proposed gaming facilities within the greater-Chicago region.&nbsp;</p><p>Click on the map below to move around the region - and you can click on the individual markers to find out more about each facility.</p> <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,0,0" width="600" height="490" id="umapper_embed"> <param name="FlashVars" value="kmlPath=http://umapper.s3.amazonaws.com/maps/kml/102886.kml"/> <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"/> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"/> <param name="movie" value="http://umapper.s3.amazonaws.com/templates/swf/embed.swf"/> <param name="quality" value="high"/> <embed src="http://umapper.s3.amazonaws.com/templates/swf/embed.swf" FlashVars="kmlPath=http://umapper.s3.amazonaws.com/maps/kml/102886.kml" allowScriptAccess="always" allowFullScreen="true" quality="high" width="600" height="490" name="umapper_embed" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"/> </object></p> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-06-07/so-what-would-chicago-area-casino-map-look-if-illinois-senate-bill-74 Air officials investigating runway incident at Midway Airport http://www.wbez.org/story/air-officials-investigating-runway-incident-midway-airport-85729 <p><p>The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident at Midway Airport.</p><p>A Southwest Airlines plane slid off the end of the runway Tuesday, stopping just short of a barrier separating the airport from the street. Offials say none of the 140 passengers or crew was injured.</p><p>The plane skidded off the runway at about 1:35 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. There were reports of heavy rain at the time of the landing. Passengers were taken off the plane and bused back to the terminal.</p><p>Joe Schwieterman follows the airline industry at DePaul University. He said Midway has gotten safer in recent years.</p><p>"They've done some facility modifications at the end of the runways, installed some of the safety buffering for an aircraft to overrun the runway, it's easier for them to stop at some of the permeable surfaces they put in there," he said.</p><p>But Schwieterman said despite the updates, Midway will always have challenges like Tuesday's because the runways are too short.</p><p>In 2005 a plane slid off the runway at Midway and crashed onto the street, killing one person.</p></p> Wed, 27 Apr 2011 12:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/air-officials-investigating-runway-incident-midway-airport-85729