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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2001

Governor Ryan Discusses Peotone Airport With U.S. Transportation Secretary

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Governor George H. Ryan commended U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and the FAA for moving ahead with the environmental review of the proposed airport in Peotone, while at the same time urging the Secretary to restore the airport project to a key planning list making the airport eligible for federal funding.

Secretary Mineta and a representative of the FAA said the environmental assessment will be complete by March, 2002. However, they agreed to see if the process can be further expedited so that it can be completed this year.

Secretary Mineta and Governor Ryan discussed the need to increase aviation capacity in the Chicagoland region. Governor Ryan requested that the Peotone project be restored to the National Plan for Integrated Airport Systems, (NPIAS), which identifies the national system of airports needed to meet present and future aviation needs. Inclusion on the list is necessary in order for the project to eventually be eligible for federal funding. In 1997, the FAA removed the Peotone airport from the NPIAS. The Governor and the Secretary discussed the problem of increased air travel delays experienced in Chicago and across the country and the fact that delays are likely to be repeated this summer.

"I want to thank Secretary Mineta for moving to expedite the environmental review of the Peotone Airport proposal and I hope the Transportation Department will put this project back on the planning list," Governor Ryan said. "It is important we move forward with the planning to add aviation capacity to the Chicagoland region in order to preserve its historic role as a transportation center of the world."

Governor Ryan met with Secretary Mineta during his visit to Washington, D.C. for the National Governor's Association conference.

Last week, in his Budget Address to the Illinois General Assembly, Governor Ryan directed the Illinois Department of Transportation to begin purchasing land from interested sellers owning land in the footprint of the proposed supplemental airport.



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