He Says Third Airport Project Will Create 15,000 Jobs

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Rev. Jesse Jackson is on a mission to help create and provide jobs for the people of Illinois.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty reports, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits is down, spreading optimism that companies are hiring again.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty Reports

To capitalize on that, Jackson is organizing a jobs rally on New Year’s morning, geared toward jobs for the possible construction of a third major Chicago area airport. It will be held at Rainbow/PUSH Headquarters, 930 E. 50th St., beginning at 9:30 a.m.

He says job seekers should come with their résumés, which will be delivered to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Jackson is urging Quinn to make good on a promise to begin construction on the long-debated third airport in Peotone, Abraham Lincoln National Airport, which he says would be a major job creation engine.

“We have the plan and the money and the need is ready to go if the governor signs the bill,” Jackson said on CBS 2 Friday morning. “This kicks off 15,000 new jobs in out in the south suburbs.”

While the employment picture has been improving, Jackson points out that many people are struggling.

“We have 49 million Americans who have no health insurance. The rates have gone up and the number to be insured has gone up. We have 41 million Americans on food stamps – the highest ever; 49 million in poverty,” Jackson said. “I visit many shelters where people actually work every day, but can’t rent and they can’t buy. They are poor. And what we focus on; these tax cuts for the wealthy, they’re not enough of an incentive to reinvest in America.”

In some areas of the city, including the Roseland and Altgeld Gardens areas of the Far South Side, unemployment is as high as 50 percent, Jackson said.

The third airport project would work toward solving the crisis, Jackson said.

“When Governor Quinn is either cutting because of the budget crisis, or trying to borrow, here’s a $400 million investment of new capital,” Jackson said.

When Quinn became governor in January 2009, he told voters he would build the south suburban airport “as fast as humanly possible.” He’s earmarked some $100 million in the state budget to buy up airport land and handle related court cases.

Since then, Jackson has been putting pressure on Quinn to make good on the promise.

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