Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Letter to the Editor: Independent Analysis of Alternatives to Peotone Airport Needed

Will County News received the following letter to the editor.  Letters can be sent to
Dear Editor,
The Chicago region’s five commercial airports—O’Hare, Midway, Rockford, Milwaukee, and Gary—can meet the aviation industry’s needs for the foreseeable future.  That’s what airlines have been telling the Illinois political apparatus for more than a generation.
Nevertheless, a rhetorical merry-go-round continues circling above the eastern Will County countryside where the state has spent $76 million on land for a sixth regional airport.  

Gov. Quinn claims Peotone is “closer than ever to becoming an economic engine for Illinois.”  State Sen. Toi Hutchinson envisions thousands  of “manufacturing, logistics, and transportation jobs.”  U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly predicts a 2016 groundbreaking. In 1996, Kelly’s predecessor—then first-term congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr.–claimed a 2000 groundbreaking would lead to 236,000  “immediate” jobs.

The politicians speak from a script prepared by the Illinois Department of Transportation.  Since 1985, IDOT “studies” have created the perception that a sixth regional airport would only be the third.

Springfield’s decades-old, smoke-and-mirrors game includes a strategy to ignore on-the-ground reality—e.g. a 2005 resolution adopted by a half dozen units of local government, the Will County Farm Bureau, and community group Shut This Airport Nightmare Down. The Peotone community has been so beaten down as to have forgotten their demand for an  “independent study” of all viable alternatives. 

Illinois' next governor owes the people of our state what the people of eastern Will County saw the need for nine years ago.  May we please see a legitimate analysis of “airport-related costs and benefits based on various scenarios, including an assumption that a Peotone airport would attract no daily commercial passenger service for many years, if ever?” 

Bob Heuer

Friday, August 8, 2014

Letter to the Editor on Quinn's Visit to Bult Field, Future South Suburban AIrport

Note: After Governor Quinn's visit to Bult Field, I received this letter to the editor from George Ochsenfeld, President of STAND.

"Letter to Editor,
Governor Pat Quinn is once again spending taxpayer money in an effort to buy votes for reelection. Using an old ploy, he is claiming that an airport near Peotone will bring economic development to Chicago’s south suburbs. To make this illusion look real, Quinn authorized the State of Illinois to spend $47 million during the last year to buy land for the South Suburban Airport, even though the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not given final approval to the project, there is no funding, no support from airlines, and no adequate surrounding infrastructure.
Governor Quinn went to the Peotone area recently [August 7] to tout the states’ recent $34 million purchase of Bult Field, a small private airport within the proposed South Suburban Airport site, as a step toward jobs. Such shenanigans are a cruel hoax on south suburbanites, destructive to the Peotone farming community, and a misuse of taxpayer money for Quinn’s political gain. Especially tragic, the State is using eminent domain to forcefully take farms and homes.
Since the State does not pay property tax, the purchase of Bult Field and other recent acquisition, reduces revenue to the township and to local school, library, and fire districts. The tiny Beecher school district will lose $92,000 annually. Local taxpayers will have to make up the difference.
Governor Quinn’s administration is currently under federal investigation for a $54 million ‘anti-violence program,’ in which money was doled out in heavily Democratic  areas during his 2010 reelection campaign. Will Quinn be the third  Illinois Governor in a row to go to prison?
George Ochsenfeld, Monee, Illinois
President of STAND (Shut This Airport Nightmare Down)"