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Rockford airport still waiting on its money

Tuesday, Dec 18, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* September of 2015

[Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Cheri Bustos] are urging Gov. Bruce Rauner to release [$16.3 million] they say the state pledged for improvements at Chicago Rockford International Airport.

Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature have been unable to agree on a fiscal year 2016 budget which was supposed to take effect July 1.

The airport project is under way and Congress is considering adding $2.5 million in federal money. Durbin and Bustos say if the state reneges it could jeopardize the project and hundreds of jobs.

They say they believe Illinois state lawmakers appropriated the money in 2014.

* Also from September of 2015

Rauner’s spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said Sunday that proper documentation allowing the money to be released wasn’t submitted.

* November of 2015

A line of credit between about a half-dozen local banks and the Greater Rockford Airport Authority will free up funds to complete an airplane-repair hangar on schedule next fall.

The $41 million project at Chicago Rockford International Airport will bring hundreds of jobs to the area and provide new educational opportunities for Rock Valley College.

* May 31, 2018

The Greater Rockford Airport Authority could accelerate payoff of a $16.3 million debt if Gov. Bruce Rauner signs the state budget bill lawmakers approved this week.

The $38.5 billion spending plan, approved by the Illinois Senate on Wednesday and the Illinois House on Thursday, includes a $14.7 million grant for the airport’s maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, where jets are repaired and maintained.

The money represents the state’s contribution to the $40 million jet repair hub, which opened in 2016. Former governor Pat Quinn promised the money to the airport in 2014. But Rauner’s administration froze the money amid a budget stalemate in late 2015.

* June 21, 2018

Chicago Rockford International Airport is going to have to wait until at least next month for $14.7 million from the state to help pay for AAR Corp.’s maintenance, repair and overhaul facility.

The money, included in the fiscal 2019 state budget signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, cannot be released until the new fiscal year starts July 1, said Jamey Dunn, a spokeswoman for the Illinois comptroller’s office.

The timing is important. Airport director Mike Dunn said the airport spends about $100,000 a month in interest payments to five banks that teamed up to extend a $17 million line of credit to the airport to ensure that the jet repair hub would be completed on schedule.

Rauner says he’s keeping tabs on when the money will be delivered.

“I hope that to be very soon,” he said Thursday during a stop in Rockford. “I’m a big advocate for the Chicago Rockford Airport.”

* Chuck Sweeny yesterday

Wish Four: That the new governor will release the $14.7 million the state owes Chicago Rockford International Airport for its promised share of the $40 million AAR maintenance, repair and overhaul facility. The money is in the budget but the soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Bruce Rauner refused to release it. Until the money is released the airport board must pay $80,000 a month in interest to five banks that lent it money to keep the AAR project flying.

I checked with the comptroller’s office today. They claim the funds have been released by the governor’s office, but they say they have not yet received a payment voucher from the relevant state agency.

       

6 Comments
  1. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 3:00 pm:

    Yet another “Incomplete” for Rauner’s report card. Which agency is supposed to be relevant?


  2. - Huh? - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 3:13 pm:

    “Which agency is supposed to be relevant?”

    Could be Aeronautics depending on how the grant was issued. From experience with IDOT, the local agency sends an invoice to the department and IDOT pays the bill.


  3. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 5:52 pm:

    The grant is in DCEO’s budget. As I understand from folks there, they tried to get the grant funds to the airport but were unable to do so because the GA forgot to include prior years costs incurred for the grant specifically, but also for DCEO’s entire capital budget. Legislation was filed to correct the mistake and passed the Senate, but the House did not act. Also, the grant agreement required federal funds to be ponied up first before the state move forward. That was in 2014 and still has not happened.


  4. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 5:58 pm:

    This is the stuff Illinois needs to stop. We can’t provide core services and we do this. We got what we had coming folks.


  5. - The more things change... - Tuesday, Dec 18, 18 @ 6:30 pm:

    You would think Trumps biggest backer in Illinois, Cabello, would be all over this.


  6. - Perrid - Wednesday, Dec 19, 18 @ 8:20 am:

    Uh, Blue Dem Dog, you don’t think airports/infrastructure is a core service?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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