* Chuck Sweeny a few days ago…
Democrat J.B. Pritzker is open to building the long-planned, controversial “third” Chicagoland airport on state-owned land between Peotone and Beecher. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is not.
That’s what I learned Thursday while watching the first of three debates among the four candidates for Illinois governor. The hourlong program aired Thursday on Chicago’s NBC-5.
Moderator Carol Marin asked: “The state of Illinois has spent $97 million buying thousands of acres of land around what would be the south suburban airport… A lot of potential jobs are at stake, it’s been studied endlessly … As governor would you be for or against that project, really just a yes or no.”
Rauner said “No” when asked.
* Tribune yesterday afternoon…
As traffic rumbled along Interstate 80 in the background, Gov. Bruce Rauner joined local officials to ceremoniously break ground on a $47 million interchange improvement project at U.S. 30 Wednesday morning in New Lenox. […]
When asked where the South Suburban Airport and the shelved Illiana Toll Road fit into his plans, he said the state has to have the right financing structure and the economic growth to support it.
If the economy “keeps booming,” “we won’t be debating a third airport. We will be saying we have to have a third airport,” Rauner said.
* Here’s what he said…
Right today, we are evaluating a third airport in Peotone. We want to make sure we’ve got the right financing structure available and we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the economic growth to support that so it’s highly successful. That’s a great opportunity for public-private partnership. We’ve got great airports at Midway and O’Hare and out in Rockford. But, this region, if we keep the economy strong and growing, we keep the economy booming, just the way the federal government has cut taxes and cut regulations on businesses and cut, uh, cut new trade deals to battle against unfair trade agreements with nations around the world, we keep on that track and we can continue to cut taxes and regulations here, we’ll get a booming economy and we won’t be debating a third airport, we’ll say we have to have a third airport because the construction opportunity is so big, the economic opportunity is so strong. We’re going to get there. And I’m committed to making sure we expand our transportation.