Local officials are praising a bill to boost chances of a Chicago-area airport for rural Will County.
State Sen. Toi Hutchinson,( D-Olympia Fields), was the primary sponsor of a bill that combined a new Peotone-area airport with state funding for an arena near the McCormick Place convention center. The bill also includes a fertilizer plant near rural Tuscola, which was paired together under the premise they create jobs.
Among Hutchinson's co-sponsors on the bill was state Sen. Napoleon Harris, D-Flossmoor, while a third area state senator, Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, voted to support the bill.
While in the House of Representatives, area legislators Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City; Will Davis, East Hazel Crest; Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights; Al Riley, D-Olympia Fields, Elgie Sims and Marcus Evans, both D-Chicago, were among the 14 co-sponsors.
As for the proposed new airport, the bill will give the Illinois Department of Transportation the authority to enter into legal agreements with private companies for the development and construction of the facility.
Jones called the proposed airport an "economic engine" for the south suburbs as a whole because of the 11,000 construction and 14,000 permanent jobs it would create.
Davis said in a prepared statement: "Our communities need job opportunities to work their way out of these challenging economic times. Supporting development projects was a priority for me, so that we can attract and sustain businesses to our area and sustain businesses for the future."
That bill is pending before Gov. Pat Quinn, who has not yet signed it into law, but praised the Legislature for approving the measure.
"The agreement is a major step forward to develop the South Suburban Airport, which will ensure Illinois' place as the transportation hub of the nation," he said in a prepared statement.
94.1 FM, WGFA