Story Summary

Peotone Airport

A third Chicago airport may soon become a reality.

Gov Quinn has taken measures to move forward on the plans for Peotone Airport in the south suburbs.

Discussions of a third airport began back in the 1970s.

When it is completed, the airport near Peotone is expected to cover 20,000 acres in Will County and bring some 25,000 jobs to the area — more than half of that once it is operational.

But residents and farmers in the area are opposed to the idea.

The FAA will have the final say.

 

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Peotone Airport is another step closer to landing airplanes. Today, Gov. Quin signed a law allowing for the south suburban airport to be built. The FAA still has to approve specifics.

The area’s third airport  is supposed to create some 25,000 jobs during  construction and once fully operating.  It’s the governor’s main reason for pushing for the project. Senate Bill 20 foots the $71 million needed to buy the rest of the land to at least get the inaugural footprint of Peotone built.  While larger airlines like United and American are not interested in leaving O’Hare, cargo planes instead of private planes could soon fill the south suburban skies.

Peotone has been controversial and greatly debated for decades.  The creation of the airport could put area farmers out of business.

Judy Oglala is the Vice President of STAND, Shut the Airport Nightmare Down. She and her farming husband will lose all they have if the FAA approves the project.

Quinn makes push for Peotone airport“It’s a devastation to  our family,” she said.  “Governor Quinn I thought was for the little guy and he completely forgets us all the time.”

Farming is a legitimate job, too, she says. She thinks Peotone is more about politics during election time than it is about airports and creating real jobs in IL.

No word yet on when the FAA will make it’s decision.

Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation today clearing the way for the Chicago area’s third major airport.

Discussions of a third airport began back in the 1970s. At the time the FAA envisioned it would eventually be the largest in the world.

Today, Governor Quinn signed legislation giving the Illinois Department of Transportation the authority to move forward wth the much smaller, and still controversial, south suburban airport.

The Governor signed the bill this morning at Governors State University in University Park.

The FAA will still need to approve the master plan.  Governor Quinn has asked for that to be expedited.

When it is completed, the airport near Peotone is expected to cover 20,000 acres in Will County and bring some 25,000 jobs to the area — more than half of that once it is operational.

The state has already spent about $40 million on land acquisition.  Governor Quinn has allocated anoher $71 million in the 2014 state budget to complete land acquisition.

Just last year, then-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. held a symbolic groundbreaking near Peotone, pushing the long-stalled project to move forward and touting its creation as a big economic boon for the area.

Protesters pushed back, saying it threatens the livelihood of farmers in the area.

Governor Quinn says it is crucial to the economy.

“When we have strong transportation, including an airport in the south suburbs that can serve both cargo and passengers, that is a key way of growing your economy and helping this particular region of our state of Illinois,” Quinn said today at the bill-signing ceremony.

Without Quinn’s support on this project it likely would not have survived, after being put on the back burner by the FAA long ago.

Historically the major airlines have spoken out against the plan, saying it would be a blow to O’Hare and its expansion project.

Mayor Emanuel will likely be happy because the legislation also contains authorization for construction of the new arena near McCormick Place for DePaul University basketball.

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