Bill Calling for the South Suburban Airport to Move Forward Passes House

Bill Calling for the South Suburban Airport to Move Forward Passes House
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Bill Calling for the South Suburban Airport to Move Forward Passes House (University Park,IL) — One day after at least 20 south suburban mayors and administrators joined labor, religious and business leaders to reiterate their support for the South Suburban Airport, Illinois state representatives approved a bill that moves it forward as a cargo airport. As the legislative sponsors of House Bill 2531, state Representatives Will Davis and Debbie Meyers-Martin held a news conference to show solidarity behind the bill which directs the State of Illinois to prepare and issue a request for qualifications seeking proposals for a cargo-based South Suburban Airport as a public-private partnership.

“This is our effort to encourage this government, this administration, to move forward to secure the appropriate developer to build the South Suburban Airport,” said Davis (30th District).

After more than 30 years of effort to get consensus around building the airport, supporters have landed on converting Bult Field into a cargo facility in response to the growing demand for e-commerce.

“This is the largest inland port in the world. We have rail, we have interstate highways, we have canals and we have some of the most modern warehousing in America,” said Jeff Horn, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150.

In addition to addressing the region’s aviation capacity needs, the South Suburban Airport will be an economic engine for the Chicago Southland. So far, the state owns 4,500 acres for the airport build out. The initial plans call for one 10,000-to-12,000-foot runway with a parallel taxiway. The site is sandwiched between multiple rail and interstate highways in what’s known as the “Crossroads of America.”

“The South Suburban Airport will create over 10,000 construction jobs over three years,” said Bonita Parker, chairperson of the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce. “Once it opens for business, it will create 50,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.”

The news conference reunited many of the voices that have been working for years to keep the Federal Aviation Administration’s recommendation to expand the region’s aviation capacity alive.

“We have the opportunity to seize the moment to create a brighter future for the Southland, our children and our children’s children. We strongly, strongly encourage Gov. Pritzker to move forward with legislation that’ll make this future a reality,” said Rev. James Hunt, of the South Suburban Action Committee.

Davis said he introduced the legislation, which changes the language from “may to shall” to determine if there are any developers who have the capacity, drive, desire and resources to build the South Suburban Airport. The Department of Transportation has up to six months after the amendment passes to begin the prequalification process for developers. The bill still needs to get the Illinois senate’s approval. 

Everyone who was a part of the news conference agreed, it is time to build the South Suburban Airport.

Bill Calling for the South Suburban Airport to Move Forward Passes House

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