Rep. Jackson Plans Groundbreaking Ceremony For Peotone Airport

PEOTONE, Ill. (CBS) — U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is making good on his election night promise to push for the start of construction on a third Chicago area airport in Peotone.

As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, Jackson says “the time for talk is over,” and he says he will lead a groundbreaking ceremony at the site near Peotone in a month.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

But Jackson will have an uphill battle.

Will County administrators, who believe they should control any airport built at the site, are saying Jackson’s plans are flawed. They say his airport commission doesn’t own the land or have the legal authority to start work at the site.

During his Tuesday night victory speech, Jackson said he was letting Gov. Pat Quinn know a “people’s groundbreaking” would be held at the site April 21 to get construction started.

“We are going to move earth, move dirt and begin the process of getting this airport built,” he said.

The congressman clarified Thursday that the groundbreaking would be ceremonial as he has yet to win a deal with Quinn to lease the land.

The project has been beset over the years by arguments over where to build the airport, opposition from major airlines and – most recently – a battle over who would control it. Jackson’s Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission, a grouping of 21 municipal governments in the Chicago area, is seeking the go-ahead from Quinn and says it has lined up $700 million in private funds and two developers.

Officials in Will County also want control and have been pressuring Quinn to stop talks with Jackson’s commission. Instead, they want the state legislature to create a governing airport authority led by the county that would have clear powers to develop, finance and operate the airport.

The county board has accused Jackson’s commission of violating Illinois’ procurement law in choosing developers SNC-Lavalin of Canada and LCOR.

“Congressman Jackson seems to build some kind of fantasy world and now he thinks he’s going to go sprinkle some dirt around like magic dust and it becomes a reality,” Will County Board Chairman Jim Moustis said. “ALNAC has no authority to do anything. So the airport is not congressman Jackson’s.”

The governor’s office said Thursday it was trying to forge a compromise.

“Our goal is to get it done as quickly as possible, and we’re working hard to resolve outstanding issues with everyone at the table,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.

Meanwhile, another airport that has sought to serve as the third major local hub is pushing ahead with plans for its $163 million expansion.

The Northwest Indiana Times reports the Gary/Chicago International Airport is close to signing an agreement with the Canadian National Railway to reroute its tracks for the airport expansion.

The tracks now sit on a high embankment just 130 feet from the main runway at the airport, and the Federal Aviation Administration has ordered that safety areas around the runway be expanded, the Times reported.

Currently, the only commercial airline that flies out of the Gary Airport is Allegiant Air, which offers two flights a week from Orlando Sanford International Airport. From 2008 until just last month, the airport had only been used for charter flights.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • southside

    Hey Junior,

    We don’t NEED another airport.
    The airlines don’t WANT another airport.
    We can’t AFFORD another airport.

    I sure hope this money is coming from yo daddy’s extorted funds pile, or from the Bud Distributorship your brothers magically received.

    You are a tone-deaf fool.

  • Roberta Waker

    The President doesn’t have a say in the Peotone Airport, so I guess Jr. thinks he’s more powerful than the President. He doesn’t LIVE in Will county, so he should stay the hell out of our business. Give Will County 80% control of O’Hare and MAYBE we will allow you to own 10% of Peotone, IF it ever gets built. Outsourcing the development and work to another country will not keep jobs in Illinois. What a dumb a$$. Jim is right about how he got reelected and Obama will get reelected the same way. Too bad for our country that the African Americans are more racist than most whites.

  • Me

    How about instead of building a new airport we use the ones that already exist? Move more of the Freight to Gary or Rockford (still in IL and sending $$ to S’field) and increase the people through O’hare and Midway.

  • tom sharp

    The best thing this crook could do is become part of the runway a la Jimmy Hoffa!

  • buttons

    Instead of complaining day after day, why don’t YOU jokers run for office?

    • Martin

      Why don’t I run for office? Well for starters I need to feed my family and taking 3 years out of my career, hoping to get a job in my career path when I leave office makes it a little rough to contemplate.

      Also, I speak my mind, not what voters and the other politicians want to hear.

      Lastly, I have no political affiliation. That alone means I would never get elected because 70-80% of people simply vote Dem\Rep because that’s what their parents voted….what the Union\Job\Idol tells them to do…what the TV\Radio tells them to do…

    • tom sharp

      You don’t get it Buttons, Our Daddy didn’t black Mail AB and get funds from Operation Shove to pay for his campaign, and we called Madigan an A-hole too many times for him to back us. Why don’t you just “button your lip”!

    • blackbettyboop39

      Tell it like it is Buttons!

  • Centurion

    Jesse has to get this airport going. Jobs have been promised to the black community. Once the blacks start coming into Peotone, Beecher, Manteno, Monee HADES ON EARTH will occur.

  • Centurion

    Let me see if i get this right…..There is not enough state money to finish the over budge O’hare Expansion. But Junior says there is enough cash to hire the homies to build a brand new airport in Peotone? The O’hare expansion has destroyed lives, destroyed businesses, forced people from their homes in Bensenville, created a HUGE AMOUNT OF CONSULTING FEES for firms like Winston and Strawn (the most politically connected law firm in IL), huge fees for the bond dealers like Griffin Kubik, Mesirow, etc etc, but there is not enough money to finish the project so TAXES MUST BE INCREASED….still not enough money…yet Junior needs to deliver on his promise to hire homies to build a BRAND NEW AIRPORT in a town that DOES NOT WANT AN AIRPORT! What part of PEOTONE DOES NOT WANT AN AIRPORT does JUNIOR not understand?

    I have an idea, all general contractors show up at Juniors house, and start doing some home imporovements…do only 25% of the job and then tell him, he owes you a few hundred thousand dollars for work performed. If he says…I DIDNT WANT THE WORK DONE…tell him…WELL THATS HOW PEOTONE FEELS….NOW PAY UP SUCKA!

    • tom sharp

      Centurion: Unfortunately for all of us, you are far too accurate. I really hate these SOBs,

  • G. Spratt

    Come on to Peotone Jesse!! Have your ground breaking!! I hope you like rotten tomatoes!

  • Ryan

    This is a petition to stop the South Suburban Airport. Please sign and send to all supporters that oppose this project.

  • Emanuel Speaks Against Airport Plan At Apperance With Rep. Jackson’s Wife « CBS Chicago

    […] Rep. Jackson said last month that he plans to hold a “people’s groundbreaking” ceremony at the… But he said for now, the groundbreaking will be purely ceremonial, as he has yet to win a deal with Gov. Pat Quinn to lease the land. Share this No comments // […]

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