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Peotone airport supporters ‘moving forward’ without Jackson

Updated: November 13, 2012 2:56PM



Despite Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s absence from Congress, a group spearheading support for the proposed third airport in south suburban Peotone on Tuesday said the fight for the airport isn’t over.

The South Suburban Action Conference is “moving forward” without Jackson, perhaps the project’s biggest cheerleader, and is taking the lead in getting the project done, the group told reporters outside the Thompson Center.

“The starting pitcher starts the game and he does a good job, and he might last to the six or seventh inning, and then bring them closer to winning the game,” said the Rev. James Hunt, president of the South Suburban Action Conference. “We are the closer. Congressman Jackson has done a wonderful job in bringing in support this far, but now it’s up to us to bring it home.”

Hunt stood with other members of the group to tell elected officials the group has had enough delays.

“This has nothing to do with Congressman Jackson,” Rev. James Hunt, president of the South Suburban Action Conference said. “It’s about jobs, it’s about the people. .... If anything, the congressman’s situation, it just spurred us to move on, be even more aggressive, be even more assertive and to make this thing happen.”

The group is calling on Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, among others, to “fast-track the south suburban airport so it will be ready to accommodate the increase in air passengers, and generate millions of dollars in Illinois.”

The project has encountered numerous setbacks over the years, including arguments over where to build the airport and who would govern it.

Jackson has pushed for a south suburban airport for years and believes the city’s skies are too crowded, even with a fourth runway at O’Hare Airport. He most recently held a “people’s groundbreaking” for the airport in April, in which he asked the public to bring their own shovels.

Still, Hunt quelled the notion the airport won’t happen without Jackson, who left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Tuesday after being treated for bipolar disorder. He has been on a leave of absence from Congress since June, and easily won election last week.



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