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Court Rejects Challenge To FAA’s O’Hare Funding

WASHINGTON (CN) - The D.C. Circuit held that a church and two villages lack standing to challenge a Federal Aviation Administration decision to reimburse the city of Chicago for up to $337 million of the costs of expanding O'Hare International Airport.

The FAA sent the city a letter of intent, promising to reimburse Chicago in annual grants of $20 million to $29 million.

St. John's United Church of Christ sought review of the first $29.3 million grant, claiming the FAA-funded airport expansion will force the church to relocate its cemetery. Bensenville claimed the expansion would destroy its parkland and affordable housing, while Elk Grove said the project would ruin businesses and deprive the village of tax revenue.

A three-judge panel unanimously ruled that the petitioners lack standing to challenge the grant, because they were unable to show that the grant caused their alleged injuries.

Petitioners "have not shown a 'substantial probability' that Chicago would scrap the O'Hare project if the court vacated the $29.3 million grant," Judge Brown wrote, adding that the proposed $337 million reimbursement represents a "mere fraction" of the costs of the expansion project.

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