Daley won’t push to privatize Midway Airport

Posted Oct. 13, 2010 at 4:54 p.m.

Mayor Richard Daley said Wednesday he will not push forward with a second attempt to privatize Midway Airport during the remainder this term, which ends next May.

“We’re not going to move on it,” Daley told the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board during a discussion of his proposed 2011 budget. “It will be up to the [next] mayor to make that decision.”

The mayor has pursued the idea as a way to bring a revenue windfall into city coffers, as happened with the outsourcing of parking meters and the long-term lease of the Chicago Skyway. But a proposed deal to lease Midway for 99 years for $2.5 billion fell through last year when the investors could not secure funding.

And in recent months, Daley has told reporters that leasing the airport doesn’t make sense because the lousy economy would prevent the city from getting a good price.

The city, which has a slot for Midway in a federal pilot project to test airport privatization, has received four extensions from the Federal Aviation Administration to line up investors.

Now, it appears it will need to seek further extensions.

Asked about his decision to hold off on the project, Daley said, “I don’t want to put a burden on the next mayor immediately and have [the media] say Mayor Daley shoved this through.”

“So, let’s be calm and reflective and find out what the value is,” he said. “The value will increase, remember that, as the economy gets a little better.”

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  1. Disgusted Oct. 13, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I’m sure there will be people commenting that Midway should be privatized because government cannot run anything. Be careful or you may get what you wish. My town sold their water distribution. The rates went up, the billing is all screwed up, and the water is bad. How do you like the tollway mess and the parking meter fiasco? Remember when you turn something nover to private interests, you lose control over rates and hpow the business operates. You may not like government screwups but don’t assume private interests are any better.

  2. Ben Oct. 13, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Virgin America and Jet Blue should purchase gates at Midway International, it would clear up some of the delays and open up competition.
    Nice to see that the City of Chicago finally repaved Cicero Ave from the Stevenson Expy to the airport!!!