Lakeshore News Tonight

Federal Govt Shutdown Causes Airport Work Delay

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October 15, 2013 — The Gary/Chicago International Airport is  feeling  effects of confusion in Washington D.C. that has furloughed more than 400,000 federal employees.

The airport board met for its monthly meeting Tuesday to discuss several topics, including the runway expansion project.  The Federal Aviation Administration issued a national change that airports capable of supporting passenger air carrier operations have Runway Safety Areas.  This requirement prompted the Gary/Chicago International Airport to expand its runway about 1,900 feet northwest.

Interim Airport Director Bridgette R. Lane told the board that challenges have been raised about the runway expansion project due to the railroad relocation project and environmental issues.

She said the partial federal government shutdown, which is now in its third week, is preventing the airport from working with all necessary parties.

“While some of our dialogue at the technical level has been a bit truncated as a result of the government shutdown, specifically some technical people as some of the regulatory agencies are furloughed. Some of the higher level conversations have continued.  We are all working to identify what the challenges are and how they can be approached,” said Lane.

AECOM Project Manager John Lucas told the board that the FAA also hit a snag in its determinations because of the shutdown.   He said a major issue deals with the railroad that will run at the end of the airport runway.  Lane reminded that the project deadline is next September.

No formal report was presented about the Airport’s Public Private Partnership effort, but Lane told the Airport Authority that a subcommittee of the P3 Ad Hoc Committee will meet separately, in the next week, with two groups that submitted proposals.

By: Renetta DuBose


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