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WGN: Interview on O'Hare Modernization Project

Sep 6, 2013
In the News

The following is a transcription from WGN story on the O'Hare Modernization Project that aired on September 6, 2013. A copy of the article can be found here.


Mark Suppelsa: Life will become a little louder in some of the communities around O'Hare, like Woodale, Harwood Heights and the city's 45th Ward. The airport is scheduled to open the new runway on October 17th. As a result, almost all of the flights will take off and land from east to west and back. The change will be part of a modernization plan that is meant to improve the capacity and efficiency. Impact in communities will have to find ways to deal with it.

Nunzio Pulice: We do want to sit down with our Congressman and try and get some of these planes turned over to the industrial parks where we really don't have people sleeping.

John Arena: Change is never easy and we don’t know what’s on the other side of that change a lot of times and we tend to expect the worst. I don’t think this will be the worst, that people will come to a new normal.

Mark Suppelsa: O'Hare airport says it will continue to have the airlines advocate for quieter engines. There are also federal subsidies for soundproofing homes and schools. Congressman Mike Quigley says he supports the new landing pattern. He is here to explain why.

Rep. Mike Quigley: Well I support the expansion O'Hare. O'Hare is critical to the region. Modernization of O'Hare is critical for it to maintain its status as a one of the top airports in the world. Today we heard that there were almost 50 million visitors to the Chicagoland area. We need to kep these numbers up because it's absolutely critical to the economy. There are a lot of things we can do, however, to mitigate these change and the impact on my constituents.

Mark Suppelsa: The mayor of Woodale, said he would like to talk to the congressman about rerouting some of the flights over industrial portions. Is this possible?

Rep. Mike Quigley: I think, first of all, we need more noise meters. We need to lower the threshold, there is a noise threshold of 65 decibels, so that more people qualify for an average of soundproofing. They need to enhance and increase the fly quiet provisions in which they bring n planes in a manner that the noise is reduced to high relation areas, and then finally, the redistribution of the burden on these runways so that one area isn't getting hit much. That is something that is going to be difficult to do but I’m committed to working with my constituents to make that process work.

Mark Suppelsa: A number of the residents said, "okay, we soundproofed our house. It's okay on the inside, but we spend most of our summers outside. You can't even have a conversation out there." Is this one of those things that's just...sorry?

Rep. Mike Quigley: It's not so much it's "sorry." I took over the airport itself in my district starting in January and I inherited a plan that had been out in place a long time ago. So I don't want to say sorry to any of my constituents I want to try to reduce this noise as much as possible. And you did touch upon many things. There are the old airports that are much, much louder than the others. Those have to be phased out. I do think there should be more noise meters so that my constituents know, all of the residents who live around O’Hare so that they know what they are facing, so it isn't speculation or someone’s best guess as to what the noise levels really are. I think that with fly quiet and some of these plans and attempts to redistrubute the burden over the east/west runways, we can reduce some of that noise.

Mark Suppelsa: Switching gears, Syria, are you still undecided?

Rep. Mike Quigley: Still undecided. One of the things I gather from my constituents, they don't know why there is a rush to judgment, why to do this. I mean, Syria knows we might be coming, so if there is going to be any moving around of elements, they've already done that. So it makes no sense to me not to wait out. There is another briefing on Monday in Washington DC at 5:00. There are a lot of documents to review. There are a lot of people to talk to in the administration and the department of defense about why they want to do this. But I think we have to hold back for a second and look, what have we learned from Vietnam, what did we learn from Iraq? We went in for the wrong reasons, didn't understand the culture, didn't have a plan to get out, didn't understand that there could be unexpected results of what we were doing. We haven’t done any of those things yet.

Mark Suppelsa: Are you suspicious of the evidence?

Rep. Mike Quigley: No. The cloud of Iraq and how we got into Iraq clearly hangs over this process. By mail I think its 50-1 to my office against intervention. By Phones, it's probably 20-1. I'm basing that...a lot of people remember Colin Powell talking in front of the United Nations saying there are weapons of mass destruction and of course there weren't. ON this case, I have near certainty that there was a sarin attack and that Assad was responsible. But that's only part of the problem that happened in Iraq and it's only half of the decision making process here.

Mark Suppelsa: If you vote against the president, will you pay for it?

Rep. Mike Quigley: I don't think so. This has never been a vindictive president. It took him a long time to make his decision and it will take us a long time too.