Commission Submits Plan to State for Third Chicago Airport

Sat August 14, 2004 - Midwest Edition

CHICAGO (AP) Supporters of a third airport south of Chicago have submitted a master plan to state transportation officials.

Members of the South Suburban Airport Commission said the plan is “more economical, flexible and financeable” than competing blueprints.

The commission’s design calls for construction of a 10,000-foot runway, five-gate terminal, surface parking and entrance road by 2009.

The group’s proposal faces competition from two other south suburban airport plans –– one from Will County and another from the state. The Illinois Department of Transportation expects to submit all the proposals to the Federal Aviation Administration for review later this summer.

The South Suburban Airport Commission’s plan is similar to IDOT’s proposal, but includes changes that “optimize space and eliminate any costly overbuilding,” said University Park Mayor Al McCowan, chairman of the of the commission.

“Aeronautically, the state’s plan is sound,” McCowan said Monday. “The runways, taxiways, approaches and alignments make perfect sense. What we modified –– actually shrunk –– were the terminal and customer service areas.”

Will County is expected to call for a 9,000-foot runway and a 2-story, six-gate terminal with parking and entrance roads.

State officials have been talking for more than a decade about building a new airport near Peotone, about 40 miles south of downtown Chicago. The idea has been unpopular with people living near the site and with supporters of Chicago’s Midway Airport, who fear that facility might not be needed if a new airport is built.

Members of the South Suburban Airport Commission include 29 southern Cook County and eastern Will County municipal officials, and the mayors of Bensenville and Elk Grove Village, two towns that have opposed expansion of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.