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Local News

South suburban airport plans still up in the air

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn speaks Tuesday during the 2017 global logistics summit at the Bolingbrook Golf Club in Bolingbrook, where he addressed the future of the south suburban airport.
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn speaks Tuesday during the 2017 global logistics summit at the Bolingbrook Golf Club in Bolingbrook, where he addressed the future of the south suburban airport.

The state received six responses in its latest call for potential developers to show their interest in building a south suburban airport.

But there’s no indication yet whether Illinois will proceed with the project, which has been in the planning stage for 30 years.

The airport was a topic this week at a Will County economic development conference attended by state Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn and Erin Aleman, director of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Office of Planning and Programming.

Blankenhorn told the gathering that the state has begun meeting with the groups that responded to a request for information, a formal process initiated last month to gauge private market assessment of the viability for the airport planned for the Peotone area.

He repeated his belief that Will County residents, especially those who live in the proposed airport area, need to know whether the airport will be built.

“We have kept people hostage in Will County too long,” Blankenhorn told the group of business people and government officials gathered for a global logistics summit organized by the Will County Center for Economic Development.

Blankenhorn said at the onset of the state’s request for information process that he wanted a decision once and for all on whether to continue with the airport.

But his comments at the Bolingbrook Golf Club suggested less finality than he previously has said.

“If it’s a go, let’s figure out how to do it,” Blankenhorn told the audience. “If it’s not feasible, how are we going to make this happen?”

Aleman said six groups responded to the state’s request for information, a process aimed at determining the feasibility of the project.

“At this time, we think this project needs to make economic sense for us to move forward with it,” Aleman said.

The state is not setting any deadline for a decision. Aleman said that all IDOT is saying at this point is that it will have more to say about the south suburban airport sometime this year.

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