After many years of threats, arguments, and wrangling the Illinois State Department of Transportation – IDOT – has delivered a plan to the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission (ALNAC) for the third airport in Chicago. The airport, which will be built on a four thousand acre site near Peotone, will be an economic blessing to the area. Besides the thousands of jobs it will create, the new airport is expected to improve Peotone Illinois healthcare, educational institutions, and recreational facilities said an IDOT spokesman. The airport plan, which was turned over to the FAA today, will require two or three years of study before approval or rejection by an FAA Record of Decision.
The new plan moves the runway further away from Bult Field private airport. The spokesman stated that the Abraham Lincoln National Airport will be constructed in the most environmentally friendly way possible. The submission of the new airport plans was held up for a number of years because there have been two different options available. The state developed one plan, and a competing plan was developed by a group headed by Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., which is the Abraham Lincoln National Airport plan. The competing plans have been the subject of a heated debate between Governor Blagojevich and Congressman Jackson. Supporters of the latter plan point out how the areas in the immediate surroundings of Midway and O’Hare airports have developed phenomenally: airports bring corporation offices, distribution facilities, warehouses, commercial developments, and southern Chicago suburbs healthcare facilities to nearby towns. It is expected that eastern Will County will similarly benefit with the influx of business which the new airport is sure to bring: fifteen thousand new jobs, business opportunities, augmented Peotone healthcare and public recreational facilities.
The chief criticism of Congressman Jesse Jackson’s ALNAC plan is that it relies heavily upon private funding, together with unlimited control by several of the founding ALNAC members: University Park, Park Forest, and Elk Grove Village, which are located far from the proposed airport site. Critics would prefer that the airport authority be under local control, particularly the villages of Peotone, Crete, Monee, and Beecher. These communities have proposed an Eastern Will County Responsible Growth Act to regulate future development of the area, including preserving land for possible future expansion of the airport.