Showing posts with label O'Hare International Airport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label O'Hare International Airport. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. should appologize to eastern Will County

Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s original congressional photo
Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s original congressional photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sympathy has begun to build for Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., who is being treated at Mayo Clinic for a bipolar disorder--we are told.

Jackson had been virtually missing from view for weeks until it was finally learned that he had a serious medical condition that required him to stay in the hospital.

According to news accounts., he has had visits, not only from members of his family, but also former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Each indicated that Jackson has a ways to go before returning to work, if he does return to work.

For what is now adding up to months, Jackson has been absent from the U.S. Congress. For the first several weeks, it was unknown just where and why he was gone. Wild speculation about rehab from drugs and alcohol, running off to a mistress, and other sordid explanations were rampant; they were all denied by family members.

Apparently Jackson is suffering from severe depression associated with his condition.
Illinois State Capitol
Illinois State Capitol
(Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn)

I can only wonder. Does Jackson's depression have anything to do with guilt about his behavior toward the innocent landowners in eastern Will County--the same folks which he has targeted for years. Following in a path laid out by his predecessors, Jackson tread on the people of eastern Will County as he pursued a pathetic idea--a third Chicagoland airport--that had been rattling around the Illinois General Assembly, in real estate circles, and in the leadership of the south suburbs since the 1960's. Jackson made it his own. It is unclear whether he believed the things he said about the vast economic potential of the project or if he simply was playing a role similar to that of a used car salesman or sleazy televangelist.

Either way, Jackson placed his own potential political spotlight far above the innocent people forced to deal with his political games. He wasn't even accountable to them until he convinced the Illinois General Assembly to right the wrong he did. When the legislative maps were redrawn, Jackson finally became the congressman of the district that included the airport footprint. Even before he got that done, Jackson played with the innocent people of eastern Will County as though they were merely the pawns in his life-altering chess game.

Most people would be conflicted by trying to better themselves at the expense of hundreds and perhaps thousands of innocent people. Perhaps Jackson really knows that his efforts to build a South Suburban Airport are futile and that the project itself is unnecessary.

I'd like to think that what he has done to people that were completely undeserving of his assault, has caused him angst. His accountability would humanize him.

Jackson has staked his entire political career on this one big issue. Who knows what might have occurred, had he pursued other, perhaps smaller, but more achievable projects?

An airport is the ultimate. The model of O'Hare International Airport, if duplicated, could be the one big development that would satisfy any politician's dreams. Starry-eyed at best, any objective view will show that O'Hare in the 1960's will not / can not be duplicated. That was a one-time bonanza, never to be repeated.

I'm sorry. I don't want to see anyone suffer. I feel empathy for my fellow human beings. Perhaps that explains why I got involved in the State of Illinois' battle to take private land for an unproven publics works project in the first place. The more I became educated about the lunacy of pursuing the building of another airport in the 1980's, the more suffering I have seen at the hand of state and local government. There has been untold suffering.

Perhaps this hospital stay is a good time for Jackson to take account--to consider all of the things he could have done--rather than pursuing the development of an unneeded airport. He should think about the harm he has caused to innocent people, their families, and their neighborhoods. Most of the damage was done before Jackson even represented the people of eastern Will County. Now he is their congressman. He should make amends, apologize to them. He should leave them alone, and stop beating the dead horse that is the Peotone Airport.

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

IDOT Crystal ball failed in 2010

Chicago Skyline 2008
Chicago Skyline (Photo credit: TomC)
Perhaps time flies, but it is doubtful that the South Suburban Airport ever will.

By now, a new airport south of Chicago was supposed to have not only been up and running, but was supposed to be wildly successful, giving credit to thousands of jobs that would make the Chicago region "recession-proof." Those were the actual words they used to describe the benefit of a new airport south of Chicago.

The year 2010 was a very important one in the life of the "third airport," (South Suburban Airport, Peotone Airport, and Abraham Lincoln National Airport) all names for the same project, by the way.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Peotone area residents seething over Jesse Jackson, Jr. insensitivities

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s election-night bravado included a statement during an interview that has the residents of eastern Will County seething.

During an interview following Jackson's victory in the Democratic primary challenge where he handily defeated ex-Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, Jackson told WLS-TV reporter Paul Meincke that the site of the airport he wants to build currently contains nothing but tumbleweed?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Illinois to go for a Cargo Airport?

Are Illinois officials serious about turning the incredible shrinking airport planned in eastern Will County, Illinois, just 40 miles south of Chicago, into a cargo airport?

AllianceTexas DevelopmentIDOT's latest metamorphosis that went from an initial plan to build a mega-airport more than 3 times the size of O'Hare International Airport, to a one-runway commercial facility has now shifted toward a cargo airport. At least that was the gist of a recent news story in DC Velocity Magazine.

The magazine reported, that Will County and the State of Illinois would develop a cargo airport as part of an ambitious multimodal transport complex that would include up to four intermodal rail yards, access to three interstate highways, and up to 135 million square feet of industrial warehousing and distribution space.

This must be IDOT's latest we'll do anything, draw-at-straws option. A cargo airport would be risky, and costly. Only one such airport exists in the world.

Alliance Airport in Ft. Worth, Texas

Alliance Airport in Ft. Worth, Texas, is not just an airport. It is an entire one-of-a kind devel-opment built by Ross Perot, Jr. The airport is owned by the City of Fort Worth, but managed by Alliance Air Services.

The airport is a small part of the development plan which includes 17,000 acres of industrial warehousing, residential communities, corporate living, apartments, hotels, shopping, and even proximity to NASCAR's Texas International Speedway. The plan was so meticulous that it has even inventoried the 36,166 trees on the site. This is the world's first and presently the only in-dustrial airport.

The 5,900-acre airport opened in 1989. Since that time, it has become home to a collection of government, national, and international corporations. There are presently between 60 and 756,000 square feet of vacant industrial properties available for sale or rent within five minutes of the airport, according to the company's website.

Cargo-only airport eyed in Pennsylvania

In 2007, the FAA approved a $1.6 billion cargo-only airport in the Hazleton area of Pennsyl-vania, but it is in the very preliminary stages. By Peotone standards of development, the PA project would be at about the same stage that Peotone was in 1986.

According to the Pennsylvania State Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Report High-lights, "The proposed Hazleton cargo airport could follow a successful track, such as Alliance Fort Worth, or be unsuccessful, such as the North Carolina Global TransPark and MidAmerica Airport near St. Louis."

Peotone Airport opponents are well versed on IDOT's other pet project — the MidAmerica Air-port, calling it Peotone's  "poster child." Mid-America has been virtually void of activity for nearly its entire 11-year existence.

Market reported that John D. Kasarda, Ph.D., director of the Kenan Institute of North Carolina, Chapel Hill questioned the wisdom of trying to build a cargo-only airport.

Calling a cargo-only airport a "challenge," Kasarda said it would especially be a challenge in a greenfield site. He said getting regular air cargo service is difficult, even in a dynamic area.

First proposed in 2003, but still just talk

Illinois officials first discussed a cargo airport at Peotone in 2003 though it never got farther than the talking stage.

Susan Shea, IDOT's Director of Aeronautics Division, whose job description now includes five bureaus including The Bureau of the South Suburban Airport, may have missed those discus-sions since they took place prior to her appointment to the transportation department by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Shea was an Illinois bureaucrat, but rather than transportation, Shea worked in the education department.

The question of a cargo-only facility had been posed for many years, though it was given little credence. Because of a lack of interest by the airline industry, the state acknowledged that it could consider cargo, not passengers.

“Nothing has been ruled out,” said the 2003 IDOT Spokesman, Mike Monseur, at the time.

Monseur added that no decision had been made as to what kind of facility the Peotone airport would be. He indicated, however, that there had been discussion on just how to use the airport.

“Regarding making it solely a cargo or mixture of both hasn’t been determined,” he said.

Cargo industry suffers economic woes

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global airlines are reporting just this week, losses in the range of $11 billion in 2009.

This far exceeds what was reported last year when the first gloomy predictions of $2.5 billion losses were made in March 2008. Revisions throughout the year were revised to as high as $9 billion in losses, but were still exceeded by economic reality.

Giovanni Bisignani, the chief executive of the IATA says such falling yields have never before been seen. And the IATA has been tracking yields for 64 years.

"North American carriers are expected to post losses of $2.6 billion, more than double the pre-viously forecast loss of $1 billion."

IDOT continues long-held patterns 

IDOT officials and another in a long line of Illinois governors continue the Peotone mantra de-spite current economic realities and grim predictions for recovery. As is customary, IDOT is remiss in seeing the big, and/or entire picture as it relates to Peotone.

Officials fail to consider the new cargo facility at the Chicago/Rockford International Airport, improvements and influx of cash to the Gary/Chicago International Airport, and the ongoing cargo operation at O'Hare.

Not only do officials ignore the unlikelyhood of success in developing a cargo-only facility when it has only been done once before, and by a man with seeming very deep pockets, but they gloss over the current chaos within the industry, borne out by real numbers, and the state's own budget shortfalls.

When it comes to the 40-year old discussion to build a new airport in the cornfields of eastern Will County, IDOT is disingenuous at best as it continues its pattern of unbelieveability and lack of credibility.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

More Peotone versus O'Hare

The curtain has been drawn on airport rhetoric recently. That is, at least until the potential for an influx of federal cash to aid the O'Hare Modernization program took center stage this week.

Now it is lights, camera, and action, as the U.S. Congress agrees on a $789 billion economic stimulus plan that could include funds for O'Hare.

While there is no proof that O'Hare funds did make it into the stimulus package as of this writing, it is known that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley flew to Washington, D.C. to lobby for the stimulus bill.

Daley was flanked by a host of Democratic leaders who pushed for Illinois' share of the stimulus package for myriad blue-collar workers. Daley's concerns include the CTA, community colleges, the park district, streetlights, and sewers.

Daley indicated, according to published reports, that $50 million would keep the O'Hare Modernization Plan on track. Without it, the program might fall behind the scheduled 2014 completion date, just two years before the 2016 Summer Olympics.

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Chicago, who felt the stimulus bill should focus on job creation, was one of the House members who voted for the initial appropriation that would have included $30 billion for highway construction, $31 billion to modernize public infrastructure, $3 billion for airport improvements, and $10 billion for public transit and rail.

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Chicago, who initially voted against the stimulus package as did other members of the Republican Party, suggested using all the money allotted to Illinois for O'Hare expansion.

As has been consistent during the past twenty years, whenever O'Hare funds are discussed, talk about Peotone cannot be far behind.

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., was not among the Illinois delegation that favors using stimulus funds for O'Hare expansion. In fact Jackson specifically stated that no stimulus funds should be used for O'Hare.

Instead, Jackson claims Peotone is a better project and can be built without stimulus money.

He claims Peotone is a better alternative to adding 100,000 flights toIllinois, and that O'Hare expansion will cost $20 billion while Peotone will cost only $500 million. And he notes that Peotone would be built with money from private investors, not taxpayers.

With the exception of the constant massaging of pie-in-the-sky projections, little is available to back up Jackson's claims, however. Jackson never mentions that the Federal Aviation Administration has not approved building his pet project. His rants are silent about efforts by what would be the hosting county -- Will County -- to provide governance if an airport is built. Will County's plans are in direct competition with Jackson's self-appointed airport authority, the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission. And his arguments are void of discussion about the millions of dollars that additional infrastructure would cost to access an airport in a farm community with its one-lane network of country roads.

Jackson's voice is not alone. While he is the soloist, the real music comes from the backup chorus – the long-standing opponents of O'Hare expansion, including Bensenville President John Geils and Attorney Joseph Karaganis. The latest website devoted to O'Hare expansion opposition is Stop the O'Hare Modernization Program.

But when President Obama called for an economic stimulus package that would include "shovel-ready" projects that would create jobs, the O'Hare Modernization program fills the bill.

The stimulus package approved by the House was originally $819 billion. The Senate approved an $838 billion version of the bill. The two finally settled on a compromise of $789 billion.
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