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Emanuel kills Chicagos Midway plan

Emanuel kills Chicagos Midway plan
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has put the kibosh on a plan to privatize Chicago's Midway International Airport.

The mayor informed staff today that the plan would no longer go through. The Chicago Sun-Times first reported the news.

The news comes weeks after Ald. Michael Zalewski, 23rd, the City Council's Aviation Committee chairman, voiced his concerns about the plan to the Sun-Times, saying Ferrovial SA, one of the potential bidders, had been accused of "union busting and black-listing." Ferrovial SA is a Spanish firm that is an investor in London's Heathrow Airport.

“I have got to give the mayor credit,” Mr. Zalewski said. “He looked at this effort from the inside and out.”

(Previous coverage: Emanuel announces Midway privatization advisory panel)

Mr. Zalewski lauded Mr. Emanuel for putting the plan through its paces by appointing an advisory committee in Januaryand shortening the lease. “Having Midway in my backyard, I am glad this is his decision,” he added.

The alderman said the mayor's office called him shortly after 5 p.m. today to inform him of the plans.

Crain's reported in March that the city had narrowed to six groups the list that would be invited to bid for a long-term lease to operate Midway.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that one of the potential bidders was Macquarie Group, which along with Ferrovial SA, planned to submit a bid for the 40-year lease. It is the same group that leased the Chicago Skyway for 99 years.

Sixteen entities offered themselves up for review in March, responding to the city's request for qualifications.

The city said in March that it was pondering a potential lease of up to 40 years, far shorter than it had intended in an earlier privatization move several years ago. The city said it planned to use proceeds to pay off debt but would retain ownership and receive a percentage fee that would grow over time.


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