One unnamed Delta Air Lines executive even called the plan an “impulsive grab for [tax] funds.”
The airlines were specifically opposed to request made by the city to FAA to approve a tax increase on passenger ticket sales to raise $182 million to pay for second phase of the project. Daley has also sought federal grants from the FAA.
Others have criticized OMP for including an extra $2 million to create 15-acres of protected wetlands for environmentally-friendly efforts like sheltering the state’s endangered black-crowned night heron. Daley’s insistence the project is completed by 2014 so that the airport can accommodate tourists traveling to Chicago in 2016 for the Summer Olympics, has also been ridiculed. (A site for the games has not yet been selected).
“We’d like to put a knife in this project,” City Manager Johnson said. “It is not about providing aviation capacity, it is not about providing any services for the traveling public and the taking of this property is unnecessary because the project doesn’t work and they don’t have the money to fund it.”
Mayor Daley doesn’t seem too concerned about these issues raised. He recently said he would bypass state legislators to lobby the federal government for funding under President-elect Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill.
“Mayors are going directly to the federal government,” he recently told reporters. “They have to. We can't wait. You can't allow Springfield to take your money, hold the interest, then eventually give it to you in the middle of winter. You'll never get the job done in the middle of winter," Daley told reporters.
“That’s how you do creative financing,” he added.