News briefs

September 01, 2002 |

O'Hare terminal project hits a snag

American Airlines and United Airlines, which together account for 80% of flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, have pulled out of a $3.6 billion plan to build new terminal facilities. Citing the airline industry's dismal financial outlook, the nation's two largest airlines said they will end their involvement in the project for the foreseeable future. The city had planned to start construction next year on the first phase, a $1.5 billion terminal with 17 gates. Meanwhile, Congress is expected to endorse an agreement between Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) and Illinois Gov. George Ryan (R) to build two runways at O'Hare. The agreement represented a compromise for Daley, who initially supported only expansion of O'Hare, and for Ryan, who initially supported only the construction of a third Chicago-area airport in Peotone, Ill., 40 miles south of the city.

Casino wars continue

Just months after Las Vegas mega-developer Steve Wynn announced plans to build a $2.5 billion resort and casino dubbed "Le Reve" on the Vegas Strip, rival casino developer MGM Mirage says it will spend $375 million to construct a 925-room tower addition to the Bellagio hotel-casino. The announcement also came on the heels of Mandalay Resort Group's release of plans for a $200 million tower addition to Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.

Construction for both the Bellagio and Mandalay Bay towers is expected to begin in mid-2003. Groundbreaking plans for Le Reve, which would fill the now-vacant site of the former Desert Inn hotel-casino, are not set yet, as Wynn is in the process of raising money for what would be the most expensive resort ever built on the Vegas Strip.

Court decision threatens code developers' copyrights

Building codes enter the public domain once they've been adopted by a local jurisdiction, according to a recent decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI), the court ruled in favor of Texan Peter Veeck, who posted SBCCI's building codes on his Web site after the code had been adopted by his local municipality.

A lower court had upheld Veeck's action, prompting SBCCI's appeal, which was supported by other code-writing organizations, including the National Fire Protection Association, the American National Standards Institute, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. These groups argue that removing their copyright protection from published standards would be denying income the organizations need to fund future standards research. The court ruled, however, that once adopted by a jurisdiction, the codes become part of that jurisdiction's law, and "the law is in the public domain."

Standards organizations are now considering the ruling's implications and their strategies for pursuing further appeal, which could include a review by the Supreme Court.

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