Saturday, February 21, 2009

Who will govern region's 3rd airport?

Here is some background on the fight over the construction of a south suburban airport, which is an important part of the O'Hare Airport expansion saga. It describes the contest between a group of south suburban suburbs that has the better plan and a late-coming Will County group for control over the new airport.

What the story doesn't mention is that the Will County group is a stalking horse for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who didn't want the the realistic prospect of a third regional airport challenging his screw-loose plans to expand O'Hare Airport and the jobs and contracts that would go with it.

The South Suburban Airport Authority was well on the way to locating two major international public works contractors to plan, finance, build and operate the airport at little or no cost to the public. Earlier, Daley had scared off another major builder who was interested in participating in the privatized airport project; the contractor did business with Chicago and Daley threatened to yank away that business.

Still, for more than a year, the South Suburban Airport Authority (affiliated with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Elk Grove Village) made significant enough progress to worry Daley.

First, he used his influence in Springfield and Washington to "put a brick" on the development of the airport by stalling necessary legislation and administrative action.

Then in the next election, in alliance with the Daley political machine, Democrats made significant strides in Will County (with the help of Chicago patronage workers).

It is important to note that Will County had shown no interest in the airport until Daley became involved. His goal has already been partially achieved: The squabbling for control of the airport has stalled it for an unconscionable long time. If not for the fight (and Daley's intervention) the first stage of the airport could have been up and running today, bringing relief to O'Hare delays.


Anonymous said...


If a south suburban airport is needed build it in Lake Calumet. If an airport must be built in the Peotone area we don't need carpet baggers running it. It should be controlled by Will county. Nice touch having comments censored by the blog author.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The 3rd airport should not even be considered an option any longer - anywhere! All the airlines have made it clear they are opposed to using the Peotone airport site, if built, plus the residents around there have been held in limbo on this issue for well over 25 years and they deserve to get on with their lives. Actually the money could be better used towards high speed rail projects instead, as they would be much more eco-friendly towards the environment and would not require eminent domain take-over of homes and destruction of communities.

Jerz h said...

Who ever govern's The third airport it will be filled with graft and coruption. The question should be is one needed. If the answer is "yes" than the most logical would be the Gary Airport and it would reduce the cost and hopefully reduce the amount of coruption aailable to our politicians.

Anonymous said...

There is no need for any more airports, the only people pushing this issue are the ones who are going to make money from it. Jesse Jackson Jr's District is barely in Will County. Its like saying Chicago could control Gary because the Skyway connects them. If someone wants to build something useful in Peotone think Wind Energy, Sustainable Communities, Bio-Mass Energy, Agriculture from locally grown Farmers instead of Chile' Think forward into a balanced growth, not backwards of big over-budgeted State Projects.

Anonymous said...

There is just no need for any third airport. Too many reasons to list, the cash-strapped State has spent enough on this. Hey, maybe they could use the money for other things, like Schools or Libraries or Career Training?

Maybe they could even sell off the land they bought, and balance the State Budget? Hmmnnn,,,,,,,,,

Anonymous said...

YA KNOW? it's amazing! ALL of the 'people' that live OUTSIDE Peotone believe we're ONLY FARM COUNTRY!!!!! empty land, empty heads that live here...well WE'RE not! THIS is a community that makes us proud to live here...quaint? maybe! but there are people 'born and raised' in this community that STILL live here, and their families. It always has made me very angry, to watch the 'Chicago News' on the '3rd Airport', and see the 'air-heads' that THINK this airport is necessary, and IN OUR backyard...they don't have a clue. We have raised our children and buried some of them; we have buried our parents, brothers and sisters here, and they are 'threatening' to 'move' part of the cemetery our loved ones are resting in. This community is filled with approximately 3200 people, people who have worked hard, raised their families here, have retired here. We love Peotone, and want to keep it this way.
I agree with 'Anonymous' NICE TOUCH having our comments censored! All the airlines are 'opposed' to the 3RD AIRPORT, and so are we!! always have been! We don't care WHO runs it, it's NOT necessary!

Gloria said...

Here's how it is. The third airport is not supported by any airlines, so it would not succeed. And really, I can't believe anyone is sitll pushing for this boondoggle in the face of this recession.

Anonymous said...

Peotone is a joke. This post's comments about "alliances" between Will County and Daley, and democratic gainst in Will County as a result of Chicago patronage workers, is likewise a joke (what, you think the republicans in Will County want Jackson sticking his nose in their business?). Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

Building a third airport in Peotone is a ridiculous proposition, and one that the people there have been fighting for about 20 years now. I can sympathize with the folks in the O'Hare area. But the fact is that there is a very large airport already built there, and it just makes more sense in every way to build up an existing infrastructure than it does to have to build one from scratch.

Walt said...

Good to hear from an old goat formerly of my fav Chicago rag.

But, like most others against the OMA, you got it wrong. I send my comments re what Rep. Junior would stick Will Co. with, as previously sent to President Barack Obama, Sen. Dick Durbin, & Rep. Debbie Halvorson. It was delayed due to my recent hosp. stay, still recovering.
God bless, Walt

Dear Friends,

As members of STAND [Shut This Airport Nightmare Down] of eastern Will County [EWC], IL, my wife Joan & i attach an article from the NW [Indiana] Times from Tuesday, February 10, 2009, which clearly demonstrates how Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. [D-IL] continues to promote the yet to be FAA approved proposal for an EWC airport that has been discussed since 1969, now planned for Peotone, IL, where airplanes would overfly schools, churches & senior citizens' centers.

Please consider the warped reasoning in Mr. Jackson's recent statement about a "better alternative for adding 100,000 flights per year to Illinois O'Hare expansion."

Jackson "would add the same number flights [100,000]" to his so-called "proposed Abraham Lincoln National Airport" at a cost of the destruction of thousands of homes & businesses on over 37 square miles of EWC property to the detriment of Illinois citizens in a region that his own Congressional District barely touches upon, let alone represents.

My wife & i are registered Democrats who recently voted to help President Obama win the White House & saw Rep. Halvorson take retired Republican Jerry Weller's seat in Congress. However, i must agree w/ Jackson's colleague, Rep. Mark Kirk's (R-IL) suggestion that "Illinois' share of the Stimulus Package be used to expand O'Hare."

After all, since the stimulus package is designed to assist "shovel-ready" projects, the O'Hare Modernization Program, where Phase 1 has been completed, certainly meets that mandate. Whereas, the EWC proposal, by whatever name it has been known or whichever county its construction has been planned, in March 2008 celebrated its 40th anniversary of discussion. Shovel-ready today, it is not.

Walter/Joan McElligott,
Beecher, IL USA

Jackson Jr.: No stimulus money for O'Hare
BY TIMES STAFF | Tuesday, February 10, 2009
CHICAGO | Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. doesn't want to see dollars from Illinois'
share of the stimulus package fly to the O'Hare Modernization Program. The proposed Abraham Lincoln National Airport in Peotone is a better project and doesn't require stimulus money, the Illinois Democrat said.
"There is a better alternative for adding 100,000 flights per year to
Illinois," Jackson said in a statement. "O'Hare expansion will cost $20 billion. The proposed Abraham Lincoln National Airport would add the same number flights for a fraction of the cost - about $500 million. And that money comes from private investors - not taxpayers."
Jackson spoke out against his colleague Rep. Mark Kirk's (R-IL) comments suggesting that Illinois' share of the Stimulus Package be used to expand O'Hare. Rep. Kirk voted against the stimulus package that would bring $22 billion to Illinois and instead suggested that the government fully fund the $20 billion O'Hare Modernization Program.
"At a time when citizens all throughout our state are in desperate need of an economic life raft, Congressman Kirk's plan leaves our citizens stranded at O'Hare," Jackson said. "The Stimulus Package approved by Congress would bring $22 billion to Illinois to modernize schools, repair roads, improve hospitals and put people to work. Congressman Kirk prefers giving that money to the O'Hare Modernization Program - thus depriving children, seniors and
needy people of vital services."
Approval for a south suburban airport near Peotone could take years. Two groups have vied for control, including the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission (ALNAC) and others who have proposed a Will County-based South Suburban Airport Authority. Some residents near the airport have also opposed the project.
But Rick Bryant, district administrator for Jackson and volunteer executive director of ALNAC, said Gov. Pat Quinn supports the third airport, which could help the project finally move forward.
"We also have an economy that is desperately searching for ways to create jobs." he said. "We may have a perfect storm for this third airport. The time might be right, politically and economically for the airport to get back on track."


Anonymous said...

With the Gary Airport available and basically not being used why is a Peotone airport necessary? Jesse claimed $500 million for total construction which realistically wouldn't get the land graded for a new facility. What a joke!!!