Senator Hastings shepherds law readying South Suburban Airport opening
HB2531 South Suburban Airport legislation passed the Illinois Senate by a 33-20 vote on Wednesday May 17, 2023
Legislation that brings the building of the South Suburban Airport one step closer to reality was approved this week by the Illinois General Assembly, co-sponsored by State Senators Michael Hastings, and is headed to the desk of the Governor for approval.
Co-sponsored with State Senators Napoleon Harris III and Patrick Joyce, the Senate approved the laws by a 33 to 20 vote on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
The bill requires the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to enter into public-private agreements and to establish a prequalification process for vendors to participate in the development, financing, construction, management and the operation of the new airport.
“The legislation is a critical step in the opening of the South Suburban Airport which will serve not only all of the state, but also make it easier for residents of the South and Southwest suburbs of Chicago to travel. It will also energize the region’s economic base through its cargo services,” Hastings said.
Hastings said the legislation originated in the Illinois House, where it was approved, and now, with Senate approval, will be sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his signature.
“This cargo airport in the south suburbs will energize and strengthen the economy in this region, creating a revenue base to increase funding to our local schools, our municipalities, and the services that are provided,” Hastings said.
“The South Suburban airport will provide facilities for air travel, and also domestic and global freight cargo transfer shipments. South Suburban Airport will eventually serve as an economic engine for the South and Southwest suburban region.”
Senators Linda Holmes, Mattie Hunter, David Koehler and Javier Cervantes all cosponsored the bill in the Senate, while Reps. Will Davis, Debbie Meyers-Martin, Anthony DeLuca and Nicholas Smith cosponsored the legislation in the House.
The plan as has the collaborative support of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce, and Rep. Robin Kelly.
To make this project a reality, the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and other local and regional stakeholders have begun preparing an airport master plan and an environmental impact statement — steps necessary to construct what is commonly referred to as the inaugural airport project.
Proposals to build an airport based in the South Suburbs were first initiated in 1984 but in recent years, movement to build it has progressed. There is no date on when the airport is expected to open but HB2531 brings it one step closer to becoming a reality.
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