http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2008 ... idway.htmlhttp://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clo ... unces.html
So Chicago is selling Midway Airport for $2.5 bil for 99 years and 90% of the money is to go to infrastructure, supposedly
. This raises quite a few questions for me.
The Tribune says it will cost more to fly as a result of the sale, which begs the age old question of whether this is good deal for the consumer. I don't have the numbers but I'm guessing the taxpayers will be losing money overall after all the investment in Midway over the last several years. And the major advantage, like the IN toll road deal, is money upfront and money guaranteed.
But here's the problem. Unlike the Gary airport that needs to be sold because it's a lemon Midway airport is a successful operation. Also, I'm sure the money is already spent in principle on bloated government even before the first check is cut. If say they spend $20 mil on road construction that frees up $20 mil from general revenues that can now be spent on say healthcare for illegal aliens, just as an example, instead of addressing the fiscal responsibility issue of whether taxpayers should be forced to pay for healthcare for illegals when they can't afford healthcare for themselves. Well ok that may not be the best example since the state healthcare bill passed. But you get the general idea. Or some of this money could go to a ballpark deal for the Cubs, which of course is a private enterprise.
So this money is not going towards taxpayer relief but for more spending projects as I understand it. I'm sure some of it is indeed needed spending projects, while most of it will turn out to be questionable in effect and will do nothing to stop Chicago citizens from having close to the highest overall tax contributions in the country. Is it any wonder that people are now less likely to shop in downtown Chicago and pay higher sales taxes when the same chain stores are less than 15 minutes away in suburbia?
I'm not sure how I feel about this deal. Given economic conditions and the state of flying today maybe this is a good deal after all because even if the new owners go bust at worst the city might get their airport back (I'm not sure if the lease is transferable or not) with some needed cash in the city coffers as a result. Meanwhile the city continues to expand O'Hare beyond reason. No matter how well run the operation there are limitations on the number of planes that can occupy the airspace. So will O'Hare be on the chopping block next after all the Midway money is gone? Or is the better question who will be able to buy O'Hare a few years from now with the credit crunch and will there even be any interest if fuel costs soar?