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Skyscraper Envy?

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) expressed irritation that Chicago is no longer a world-class city when it comes to building heights. The issue arose during a Senate floor discussion on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. Chicago's Willis Tower ranks #11.
July 18, 2014, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"Chicago’s diminished status as a former skyscraper capital of the world 'still pisses' off Mark Kirk, the Illinois Republican senator said in a rare floor appearance on Thursday (July 17) morning," writes Burgess Everett, congressional reporter for POLITICO.

The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) of 2013-14 [H.R.508, PDFrenews the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program which was "enacted by Congress in 2002 in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks," writes Jarrad Saffren of USA TODAY in her article describing a GOP rift on the bill. It is designed to "protect property owners against financial losses from terrorist attacks, which insurers and developers say is critical to keeping large construction projects going," adds Saffren.

"Of the ten tallest buildings in the world, none [sic] are in the U.S.A. Look over at that tallest one. That kind of still pisses me off, that Burj Khalifa, which is right now the tallest building in the world,” Kirk said, colorful language not commonly found on the staid Senate floor.

[Correspondent's note: According to chart noted below, New York's One World Trade Center is #4.].

"Kirk suffered a stroke two and a half years ago and rarely makes floor speeches on the Senate floor," adds Everett, but he "turned serious on the issue of skyscrapers in Chicago, where the Sears Tower (now named the Willis) has been relegated to the 11th-tallest building in the world after a reign of more than 20 years atop the charts." 

The 108-story tower is 1,451 feet high according to Emporis ("the #1 provider of building data and construction projects worldwide", states their homepage)

“As the senator representing Chicagoland, the city that invented the skyscraper, that Chicagoland citizens have a right to grow up in the shadow of the world’s tallest building,” Kirk said, adding that the U.S. can’t return to the top of the skyscraper charts “unless we quantify the risk from building one of these buildings through the TRIA legislation.”

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Published on Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Politico
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