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New Airport Proposed for Chicago Suburbs Has Supporters and Doubters

Questions raised by a proposal to build a new airport 37 miles south of Downtown Chicago: Does the region even need a new airport? And would this particular airport proposal serve to induce more sprawl in the region?
May 9, 2019, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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South Suburban Airport
Bult Field is the future site of the South Suburban Airport.

"Regional leaders [in Chicago] on Friday unveiled their largest, most-unified call to date for Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers to support the proposed South Suburban Airport," reports Ted Slowik.

The South Suburban Airport would be located in Monee, Illinois, 37 miles south of Downtown Chicago. "The airport is needed to provide additional capacity to move cargo, the letter said. Amazon and other companies that ship goods bought online would use the airport to transport products," according to Slowik.

Specifically, the letter asked for $150 million in improvements for infrastructure surrounding the South Suburban Airport. "The funds would pay for a new interchange on Interstate 57, local road improvements and utility upgrades," according to Slowik.

Sloik also details the substantial political intrigue surrounding the project. Some state legislators are threatening to withhold support for "a statewide referendum in 2020 to amend the constitution to allow a graduated income tax," a major goal in the agenda of Governor Pritzker, "unless the governor voiced support for the airport."

John Greenfield provides follow up analysis of the airport proposal, questioning whether the economic development promises of airport plan boosters would serve only to induce more sprawl in the region. The airport is without proximate access to rail lines, notes Greenfield. Greenfield surveys regional transportation experts for their take on whether the airport would do more harm than good.

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Published on Saturday, May 4, 2019 in Chicago Tribune
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