CHICAGO - Is the long-dormant dream of a big new airport in the south suburbs coming back to life?
Supporters hope e-commerce giant Amazon would sign up to use it as a hub for cargo operations.
Whether it was Richard J. Daley's proposal in 1970 to build a giant, international airport five miles out in the middle of Lake Michigan; or his son's 1990's notion to put it in Lake Calumet; or the most recent plan for south suburban Will County -- a half-century's worth of spending, totaling hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, has so far come to nothing.
Congresswoman Robin Kelly sees a chance to change that.
“With so many Amazon facilities emerging in the Chicago metro area, I am certain that we're gonna need a more accessible airport that isn't on the other side of Chicago,” Kelly said.
Speaking at Monday’s announcement of new Amazon warehouses in the south suburbs, employing one-thousand people, Kelly talked of Peotone becoming an international hub for e-commerce cargo.
“In fact, Amazon Air has purchased a fleet of 100 new cargo planes, about half of which are operational today,” she said.
Also at Monday’s announcement, Gov. JB Pritzker promised to spend more tax dollars on a Peotone airport, but says it will never get off the ground without deep-pocketed corporations such as Amazon.
“We’re trying to bring together the government side, the infrastructure investments that need to be made. And, on the private side, the business that will be necessary for it to be successful,” the governor said.
No comment on this from Amazon, a company notorious for demanding taxpayer subsidies.