ROCKFORD – March 8, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today continued his efforts to support economic growth and the aviation industry by announcing $1 million to help expand parking capabilities at the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD). RFD is a United States Customs Port of Entry and a Foreign Trade Zone that is currently ranked among the top 25 U.S. cargo airports.
“The Chicago Rockford International Airport is an important economic engine in Rockford and the Northern Illinois region that continues to attract businesses to our state,” Governor Quinn said. “This funding will create jobs, and continue to invest in projects that keep Illinois’ economy moving forward.”
In 2011, passenger traffic at RFD increased approximately 15% over 2010, and estimates for March 2012 are 12% higher than March 2011. Due to the airport’s success and an increase in passenger traffic, RFD’s parking lot is consistently more than 90% full. The state will be providing approximately $1 million toward the parking expansion and construction is anticipated to begin in the upcoming construction season.
“As RFD’s rapid growth continues, the $1 million Illinois Jobs Now! funding will help with the construction of a major parking expansion to alleviate passenger traffic and congestion,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said. “The project will create dozens of good-paying jobs, make much-needed infrastructure improvements, and includes the construction of more than 400 additional parking spaces to improve the flying public’s experience at RFD.”
RFD includes the largest regional parcel-sorting facility in the United Parcel Service (UPS) system, and is the only facility of its kind to handle coast-to-coast cargo. Located 85 miles northwest of Chicago, RFD covers more than 3,000 acres and is home to dozens of industrial tenants. RFD also provides flights from several air service providers and charter flights throughout the year to cities and vacation destinations including Cancun, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando and Phoenix.
"We again appreciate the Governor's outstanding support for our community,” Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey said. “This investment will help our Airport to continue to support the economic health and recovery for our City and State.”
This Illinois Jobs Now! Capital Program funding is in addition to more than $7 million in current federal and state funds designated to rehabilitate one of the airport’s runways. The crosswind runway was in need of repair due to increased heavy aircraft loads and the weathering effects in Northern Illinois. The state also recently provided $3 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding for the construction of a new multi-modal rail station in Rockford, serving the Chicago-Rockford-Dubuque corridor and supporting passenger rail and public transit.
“The Chicago Rockford International Airport continues to improve the hassle-free experience for our customers. By maintaining existing infrastructure as well as developing our airport facility, we are meeting the growing needs of our industrial and passenger air service providers,” said RFD Airport Executive Director Mike Dunn. “We are grateful for the support of Governor Quinn and the funding to help us remain competitive and further enhance our services.”
Governor Quinn’s $30 billion Illinois Jobs Now! is the first statewide capital construction program in more than a decade. The program is expected to create or support 439,000 construction jobs over six years to support economic growth in Illinois.