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Durbin: Repay federal funds if Midway privatized

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO – Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin says the city of Chicago should repay any federal funds spent to update Midway International Airport if officials decide to sell or lease it.

Durbin sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Tuesday urging him to carefully evaluate any airport privatization agreements.

Chicago officials are considering privatizing Midway. Officials in San Juan, Puerto Rico are close to privatizing an airport there.

Durbin noted together the two airports have received almost $559 million in federal Airport Improvement Program funds since 1982. He says $378 million was spent at Midway to rebuild runways, taxiways and a new terminal.

Durbin says the federal government borrowed heavily to invest in airports across the country, so the money should be repaid under privatization and taxpayers should have a say.

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