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South Suburban Airport bill ready for governor’s signature

Legislation that calls for a public/private partnership to develop the South Suburban Airport will soon be on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk. The bill was approved by the Illinois Senate on Wednesday. It passed in the Illinois House earlier in the legislative session.

The bill’s sponsors were Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) and Sen. Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey). The bill directs the State of Illinois to prepare and issue a request for qualifications to seek proposals from the private sector for a cargo-based South Suburban Airport as a public-private sector partnership.

Homewood and Flossmoor residents have heard about a proposed airport in Peotone for decades. The state already owns approximately 90 percent of the property. 

Originally the plan was for a passenger airport, but the emphasis now is on cargo.

“The economics of it are driven by cargo, and that can be seen in our region, the massive growth that we have here. The last few years there’s millions of dollars in new investment in our region,” said Reggie Greenwood of the Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation. 

Rick Bryant, senior adviser for U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) who represents Homewood and Flossmoor in Congress, said: “Chicago has a great air cargo hub in Rockford, but most of the major distribution centers are located down south because of our proximity to all the rail and road intersections here. The South Suburban Airport is the perfect location,” Bryant said. “We already have the roads. We already have the rails. We even have the rivers. The airport would be like the keystone of the arch that holds everything together. A cargo / industrial airport would make the Southland a mega multi-modal hub for international business.”

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