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July 15, 2002

Federal Aviation Administration Approval Gives Boost to New South Suburban Airport

SPRINGFIELD, IL -– Governor George H. Ryan today said the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) approval of the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed South Suburban Airport is a major step in making the airport a reality.

The FAA’s Record of Decision finds the Peotone site is technically and environmentally feasible for a new airport to serve the region.

"The decision today reflects the intense work of the past few years by the state and now positions the airport for the next phase," Governor Ryan said. “By the end of summer, the Illinois Department of Transportation will complete making offers on all 4,200 acres of land needed for the inaugural airport.

"Constructing the South Suburban Airport will generate tens of thousands of jobs and provide economic benefits to the south suburbs. Combined with the improvements the city of Chicago is proposing at O’Hare International Airport, the Chicago region will continue to be the premiere airport hub in the nation."

The final Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement approves the potential development of a greenfield airport site. The FAA agrees with the state’s analysis that the South Suburban Airport site has minimal impact on the social and natural environment.

Approval now allows the state to proceed with phase 2 environmental work that includes engineering for airfield and terminal facilities.

Approval of the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement comes as congress considers passing into law the regional aviation plan agreed to by Governor Ryan and Mayor Daley in December 2001. The plan calls for modernizing O'Hare with a new runway configuration, building another airport in south suburban Peotone and keeping Meigs Field open for 25 years.

Copies of the FAA Record of Decision will be available for public viewing later this week at libraries in Will County, Kankakee County and the Chicago area.


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