A group of pastors is urging the governor to move forward on the approval of an airport in Chicago’s south suburbs. A newly formed group, Combined Clergy for Economic Equality, is calling for the construction of an airport in Peotone. According to the group of ministers, there’s private money available and all that’s holding up groundbreaking and construction is a lack of action by the state. The pastors believe an airport would spur economic development.
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While talking to the media Friday, the clergymen mentioned voting for Quinn because of his stance on jobs. Asked if there would be political retaliation come election time if Quinn doesn’t act, the Rev. Walter Turner says no. “This is not an intent for political retaliation,” Turner said. “This is about an appeal for jobs. He has ran [sic] on the platform that he is a jobs governor. A couple of years ago he put a program together to show his compassion for people, Put Illinois to Work. Well if he’s still concerned about putting Illinois back to work, we make the appeal to him to do this now.”
Talk of construction of another airport in the Chicago area has been going on since the late 1960s. In March of last year the governor said he wanted to start construction as soon as possible, but so far land acquisition is yet to be completed and the plan still lacks finalized approval from the FAA. Later this month the pastors plan a ceremony to bless the ground at the proposed site. Opponents of the airport say it’s not needed, and would result in the expenditure of millions of dollars to pave over valuable farmland. They point to an underutilized airport in Gary, Ind. as one example of why a Peotone airport isn’t necessary.