Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Inaccuracies seem to follow the Peotone airport

The following story was reported in Airport Business, a blog by Editorial Director John Infanger of Airport Business magazine. Infanger's post inaccurately states that the proposed Peotone airport is located in U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson's congressional district, (see below). Congratulations Jesse, another one fell for it! Too bad it just isn't true.

I couldn't help but add a comment, since comments are allowed. Read my comment below the story.

Flying Out of ORD …

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Posted By John F. Infanger

Editorial Director, AIRPORT BUSINESS Magazine
… the construction unfolds at O’Hare below as the airliner liftsoff. A man’s mind turns to … airports. And whatever happened toChicago’s third airport, at Peotone (or wherever)?

No sooner asked than answered by Chicago Tribune reporterJoel Hood, who relates that the State of Illinois has “set aside” $100million to get the project moving. Says the story, “For airportsupporters, the money signals that Governor Pat Quinn is serious aboutacquiring the remaining 2,000 acres needed in southern Will County tobuild a third major airport for the Chicago region. No sooner had thegovernor signed the bill than state officials began fielding calls fromlandowners near Peotone seeking to cash in, said Susan Shea, directorof aeronautics for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“I tell them that I’ve already got appraisers ready and out lookingat properties,” Shea said. ‘All of a sudden, people are starting torealize that this is going to happen.’"

That’s significant because two major obstacles holding up Peotonewere local landowners and politics. Chicago’s third airport was put onhold in the ‘90s because Mayor Daley had come up with a new plan –rebuilding O’Hare – and opposing Peotone. President Clinton and Mr.Daley were allies.

Interestingly, Mayor Daley had previously fought hard for a thirdChicago airport, at the Lake Calumet site near Indiana. It was heavilypolluted from the steel mill era; the feds said no. A group of seriousinvestors sought to privately build Peotone, a la Branson, but neverseriously got off the ground. And Mr. Daley’s father, Mayor Richard J.,at one time pushed hard for a third Chicago airport … in Lake Michigan.

Today, President Obama’s Chicago home isn’t that far north ofPeotone, which sits in Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s (D-IL) district. Rep.Jackson is perhaps the strongest proponent of the new airport, and hisargument gets legs when one considers that the current search for jobsin Chicagoland is rough. Daley and Obama are allies, certainly; butapparently the politics don’t add up to the same result today. The fateof this project has always hinged on Washington.

If there was one thing I learned about Chicago while growing upthere, it was that the region was a transportation hub. That was itscore strength – the railroads; the airports; the highways … theinfrastructure. Driving down I-55 the other day was a ‘highway betweendistribution centers’ experience.

The third Chicago airport has always seemed like a natural progression.

Thanks for reading. jfi


Your story contained an error.The proposed airport is NOT in Jackson’s district. In fact, Jackson hasdeceived many, including his congressional colleagues, into believingthat, but it isn’t true. The proposed airport site lies within the 11thcongressional district, in Will County which is fighting Jacksontooth-and-nail for control.

Further, due to her track record, you should have reported that Susan Shea claimed she is fielding calls from landowners.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pat Quinn like all the rest

With the signing of the State of Illinois' $31 billion "Illinois Jobs Now" bill Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn just restarted the clock on a project for which time should have long ago run out. The bill steers another $110.5million toward the third airport project, near Peotone.

Illinois Governor proves to be no different than predecessors

With the signing of the State of Illinois' $31 billion "Illinois Jobs Now" bill Wednesday, Gov. Pat Quinn just rewound the clock on a project for which time should have long ago run out. The bill steers another $110.5 million toward the third airport project.

Billed as a jobs creator, that money will go toward buying the remainder of the land the state has been unable to obtain from folks who have vowed to fight to keep their land, homes, and farms -- unwilling sellers. How does that create jobs?

The only possible explanation for throwing good money after bad for a forty-year old project void of forward progress, is that Quinn is continuing similar practices of his predecessors -- jobs for favorite supporters: lawyers who will try to push eminent domain on innocent families; consultants who will to try to hide the project's lack of need; public relations specialists who will explore every angle in an effort to paint a rosy picture of the project; and of course investors who also contribute to public officials' campaigns for promise of a piece of the action when an airport is built, if it ever is. Perhaps some of those professionals are part of the 10.3 percent of Illinois' unemployed.

Many believed Pat Quinn would be different than his predecessors -- one who is serving time in a federal penetentiary and another who awaits his day in court. It looks like nothing has changed except the names.