Illinois drafts layout for planned airport near Peotone
STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS September 27, 2012 2:38PM
A sign marks land acquired by the State of Illinois along Rt. 50 and Eagle Lake Road near Peotone for the proposed third airport Thursday, September 27, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 29, 2012 6:54AM
The state of Illinois has completed a draft layout for the proposed south suburban airport near Peotone and submitted it to the Federal Aviation Administration for review.
Gov. Pat Quinn announced the draft submission Thursday, saying the airport would be an economic engine for Illinois.
“The advancement of the airport approval process is good news for the south suburbs, as we continue our efforts to improve transportation, create jobs and spark economic growth across the Southland region and Illinois,” Quinn said in a statement.
Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider says the draft layout is the “biggest step yet” toward making the airport a reality.
Illinois has invested $30 million toward the buying land for the airport. The Department of Transportation is asking state lawmakers to appropriate another $70 million to buy the rest of the site, expected to require nearly 6,000 acres.
Supporters say it will create jobs and relieve congestion at O’Hare and Midway. But some residents of the surrounding area oppose the plan, saying the airport is unneeded and pointing out that no major airport has committed to using the facility yet.
The airport also is the center of a battle between Will County officials and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-2nd) of Chicago. Jackson has established the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission to run the airport, and its members include representatives from outside Will County, including from the northwest suburban of Elk Grove Village.
Will County officials say they should have ultimate control over the airport.
Will County Board Chairman Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort, agreed Thursday that submitting the draft layout could be the “biggest step yet” in the FAA approval process, but he said the biggest step airport leaders must ultimately take is to reach a consensus on how the airport will be governed.
A spokesman for Jackson did not return a call seeking comment.
Contributing: Jon Seidel