Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois has reached another major milestone toward approval of the South Suburban Airport by submitting to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) a draft Airport Layout Plan for review. The Airport Layout Plan is the sixth of the nine key elements that make up the project’s Master Plan and further demonstrates Governor Quinn’s commitment to building the critical airport as soon as possible.
Governor Quinn said the South Suburban Airport will be an important economic engine and help move Illinois forward. "The advancement of the airport approval process is good news for the south suburbs, as we continue our efforts to improve transportation, create jobs and spark economic growth across the southland region and Illinois."
To ensure that progress on the project continues, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is requesting that the General Assembly appropriate the remaining $71 million that was originally part of the $100 million dedicated to purchase land for the airport through Governor Quinn’s six-year, $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! capital program.
"The draft of the Airport Layout Plan is the biggest step yet toward making the South Suburban Airport a reality," Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said. "We are making tremendous progress on our Master Plan and look forward, through our partnership with the FAA, to advancing this important project into the final planning stages."
The Airport Layout Plan is composed of highly-technical drawings that depict the airfield infrastructure and related facilities required to operate an airport located in eastern Will County. The document will be the FAA’s primary tool for completing a detailed airspace analysis and ultimately protecting the airspace required for the South Suburban Airport.
Along with the Airport Plans Report, a companion document also submitted for review this week, the Airport Layout Plan draws from Master Plan components previously accepted or approved by the FAA, including the Existing Conditions Report, the Aviation Forecasts, the Facility Requirements Report, and the Alternatives Development and Evaluation Report. The remaining elements to be submitted to the FAA are an Implementation Plan, a Financial Feasibility Analysis, and an Environmental Considerations Report.
The state has invested $29.8 million thus far toward the purchase of 2,317 acres for the inaugural airport. The approximate airport footprint is 5,800 acres, spread over 148 parcels. The South Suburban Airport’s 9,500-foot runway has been designed to routinely handle aircraft such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, but will also have the capability to accommodate limited operations of larger, wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 767, Airbus A340 and Boeing 747.
All of IDOT’s submitted materials to the FAA, including the new Airport Layout Plan, and the status of land acquisition efforts are available at www.southsuburbanairport.com.