Originally Posted by Latoso
Illinois and Chicago are far too parochial for Gary to ever be a viable option. The only way it would happen, with any expedience anyway, is if Illinois annexed Lake County, Indiana and Gary were annexed by Chicago. If that highly unlikely scenario occurred, Peotone would be dead in a week and there would be federal funding approved for an expansion of Chicago's 3rd Airport (Gary) by the end of the year.
There is federal funding already approved for the expansion of Gary...see note above. Gary has been a part of the Chicago System since 1995. Peotone will be under the control of IL while Gary will be controlled by Gary and Chicago.
The Gary Post Tribune reports today, in a lengthy story by Lisa Shidler:
Gary/Chicago International Airport backers say nothing can stop the airport from being a success now that it is snaring $57.84 million from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The go-ahead for the funding will bring 320 new jobs to the Gary area and energize Northwest Indiana’s economy, a bi-partisan coalition of state, local and national officials said Monday.
Airport leaders say the airport, which has been struggling to lure consistent scheduled passenger service, will now have an advantage once it can move the elevated railroad tracks and complete other projects including extending the runway.
Airport officials also are hopeful that airlines will take notice of this funding and will be more likely to consider starting scheduled passenger service here now that approval has been granted. * * *
King believes snagging this important funding will help the airport lure more airlines, but did say nothing is a guarantee.
“It’s always a bit of a dance,’’ he said when dealing with airlines and pointed out that Gary has had a number of carriers including Pan American Airlines, Southeast and most recently Hooters Air.
“Some say these are rinky dink,” King said. “But having these carriers contributed to showing that people will come here.”
Currently, Hooters has been providing scheduled passenger service out of Gary, but temporarily stopped its service until March.
Officials said the deal couldn’t have been approved without bi-partisan support.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was also at the press conference at the airport on Monday, and said the announcement is just the start for positive news at the airport.
“This is just the beginning,’’ Daniels said. “Indiana’s got to act boldly. It’s just a great day for all of Indiana.”
"Gary airport lands the big one" is the headine to this story by Keith Benman in the Munster (NW Indiana) Times. Some quotes:
"This makes an emphatic statement this will be the next great Chicago airport," said Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, standing at the airport terminal's west end as union construction workers and others looked on Monday afternoon.
The money will be used to add 2,000 feet to the northwest end of the airport's main runway. The Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad tracks, which lie 130 feet from that end of the runway, will be moved westward. * * *
U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., a key player in securing the funding, pitched the Gary airport Monday as crucial to the economic health of the entire Chicago area.
"If we run out of airport capacity, our economy will stagnate," Bayh said from Washington earlier in the day. "We have to get beyond these petty jurisdictional battles."
The "petty battles" comment refers to the running feud between Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his Illinois allies over Jackson's proposed Abraham Lincoln National Airport in south suburban Peotone.
"Gary/Chicago is a reality on the ground capable of serving people's needs, not a cornfield somewhere," Bayh added in another swipe at Peotone.
Another Times story reports:
Some south suburban Peotone residents hoped Monday's FAA pledge of $57.8 million to the Gary airport would help sound the death knell for a proposed airport near their community.
But recent activities and statements of the proposed Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission show that supporters of a facility between Peotone and University Park are doing anything but giving up.
For several years, the Gary/Chicago International Airport and backers of a Peotone airport have been locked in a debate -- and a race to distinguish their respective plans as the third major Chicago-area airport.
Monday's announcement that the FAA has approved a letter of intent to fund Gary airport runway expansions and other face-lifts put the already established Indiana facility that much further ahead in the race.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune reports today:
Indiana landed federal funding Monday for an almost $90 million project to expand Gary-Chicago International Airport, which has never been able to show its commercial viability despite its proximity to the Loop.
Indiana's governor, Gary's mayor and other dignitaries gathered in the passenger terminal of the underused airport to announce a pledge of $57.8 million in federal funding over 10 years from the U.S. Department of Transportation. * * *
Construction would start this year and be completed as early as 2008, by which time officials said they are confident several carriers seeking relief from congestion at O'Hare International and Midway Airports would be operating at Gary-Chicago, which is about a half-hour drive from the Loop.
Yet the only VIP missing from the crowd at Monday's funding celebration was an airline chief executive officer to announce new service starting up at Gary-Chicago, which Indiana officials tout as the Chicago area's future "third airport."
"The last time I looked, there was still corn and soybeans" at the proposed airport across the border in Illinois near Peotone, said Gary-Chicago airport director Paul Karas. "We are a functioning airport."
But Gary-Chicago once again offers no regularly scheduled airline service after Hooters Air suspended service on Jan. 9. The niche carrier said it may resume service at Gary as early as March.
For now, the airport survives on revenue from charter passenger flights, cargo operations, general aviation and corporations, including Chicago-based Boeing Co., which hangars its Midwest corporate jet fleet at Gary-Chicago.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 17, 2006 07:34 AM
Posted to Indiana economic development