CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s administration today submitted an updated airport layout plan for the South Suburban Airport in Will County to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“Submitting this plan is a major step forward for the South Suburban Airport and my administration’s plans to create jobs and build the economy in Chicago’s Southland region,” the Governor said. “There is a broad consensus in favor of building a third major airport to serve the transportation needs of the area, and now we have a layout plan that we can move forward with.”
The South Suburban Airport is expected to generate 2,000 jobs, directly and indirectly, in its first year of operation and up to 9,700 jobs by its fifth year, according to estimates prepared by Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics as part of the planning process.
The new layout plan shifts the airport’s initial 9,500 foot runway 600 feet to the south from what was proposed in an earlier IDOT plan.
“IDOT’s planning process has determined that this proposed runway layout is the most environmentally sound, cost-effective, and operationally efficient alternative, and that it will the least impact on the communities in the vicinity of the airport,” said IDOT Secretary Milton R. Sees.
“After so many years of discussion and planning, and so much feedback and input from the public and community leaders, it is very exciting to submit this Preferred Airfield Alternative to the FAA,” said IDOT’s Director of Aeronautics Susan Shea. “What this means is that we are kicking plans to build the South Suburban Airport into high gear.”
IDOT is asking the FAA to perform an Airspace Feasibility Study to determine how the runway layout would affect the nation’s overall air traffic system. While the layout plan is under review, IDOT will be preparing an Environmental Impact Statement and continuing land acquisition for the new airport.
To date, IDOT has acquired 1,940 acres in the inaugural footprint, and 69 parcels of land out of a total of 133 that are needed.