Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation that paves the way for using a public private partnership to build the long-planned third Chicago regional airport in the far southwest suburbs.
The legislation allows the Illinois Department of Transportation to pursue a P3 to develop, finance, construct, and operate the airport planned for a site in Will County near the town of Peotone. Quinn touted the project as a means to create more than 11,000 construction jobs and 14,000 permanent jobs.
"Now we can move forward with the development of this major economic engine that will strengthen our status as the transportation hub of the nation while creating thousands of good-paying jobs in Illinois," Quinn said in a statement.
The state has spent $40 million so far on land acquisition and the fiscal 2014 capital budget provides the remaining $71 million needed to buy complete land the purchase of land for the starter airport. The master plan for the South Suburban Airport is pending before the Federal Aviation Administration. The state said approval is expected in the coming months.
The law requires IDOT to collaborate with all units of local government and private entities that are impacted by the airport, and sets up a public process to build the facility and select an operator.
The same legislation signed by Quinn - Senate Bill 20 - also paves the way for construction a new arena at McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. The facility - in line for controversial city subsidies - would house sporting events for DePaul University, including serving as home to its Blue Demons basketball team, and convention events.
The $140 million arena plan announced in May relies on a contribution of $70 million from the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority. The school would cover the other half and the city would contribute $33 million in tax-increment financing funds to cover land acquisition and infrastructure improvements.
Construction at a site near the convention center could begin as soon as 2014 on the 10,000-seat stadium. Chicago-based DePaul would pay for its share through ticket sales, a naming rights deal, and other sports-related revenues. The school's basketball team currently plays at a suburban arena.
City and MPEA officials unveiled the arena plan as part of a larger $1 billion package that envisions establishing an entertainment district around the convention center, remaking the downtown tourist attraction Navy Pier, and construction of two new hotels.