Mayor Emanuel Announces Midway Privatization Committee

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According to an article from the Chicago Tribune on Friday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel officially announced the formation of a committee to advise the city as it considers the possibility of a privatization deal for Midway Airport. The committee will be composed of seven members, all of whom were appointed by the mayor today and will have their first meeting on Friday.

Here are some facts and details about the announcement today, including the newly created committee, and the possibility of the city privatizing Midway Airport:

* Crain's Chicago Business reported that the committee will be given authority over several decisions, including the ability to hire an independent auditor to oversee the deal.

* The committee is composed of two city council members, a leader in the labor sector, and several business leaders in the area.

* Last month was the first time that the mayor has announced his plans to explore a privatization deal for the airport on the Southwest side, noted NBC Chicago .

* Sen. Mark Kirk has expressed support of "public-private partnerships that provide value taxpayers" and has said that he looks forward to working with the mayor on a possible privatization of the airport.

* According to the Chicago Sun-Times , the committee includes Aviation Committee Chairman and City Council Ald. Michael Zalewski (23rd Ward), Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward), and former Ald. Marty Oberman.

* Other members are Marty Nesbitt, who runs a parking management firm and is a friend of President Obama; James Connolly of the Laborers District Council; Frank Beal of Metropolis Strategies and Peter Skosey of the Metropolitan Planning Council.

* Skosey will serve as chairman of the committee and Connolly will serve as the vice chairman.

* One of the committee's duties will be to deliver written reports to the public while representing public interest as well, and advise city council members on the details of moving forward with a possible deal.

* Privatizing the airport could be difficult to sell to the city council, especially after issues related to the privatization of Chicago's parking meters where there are major discrepancies between what the city has been billed for and the audited numbers.

* The city has already determined that the lease would be no more than 40 years and the contract-holding operator would assume the costs associated with fire and police services.

* It would also include profit-sharing for Chicago's taxpayers and the city would take steps to protect against price-gouging at the airport.

* Ultimately, the city council will have the authority -- and a 30-day window -- to approve any such deal.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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