CAHOKIA – September 27, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today joined transportation officials at the St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia to open a $2.7 million runway extension and announce a $4.4 million investment to widen the primary runway. The runway expansions will accommodate growing demand and larger planes, while improving the safety of the airport. The airport is a major regional economic engine with an annual impact of approximately $300 million and nearly 1,900 full-time employees. When completed, the projects will have created 178 construction jobs.
“A modern transportation system is critical for the Metro East area to remain competitive in the 21st Century,” said Governor Quinn. “Once again we were able to use funding available through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program to leverage a much larger investment from the federal government to put people to work improving Illinois’ infrastructure.”
Both projects were primarily funded through federal grants; however, the Federal Aviation Administration requires a small matching investment from the state and the airport. Matching funds from the $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! capital program allowed the airport to receive almost $7 million in federal funds for these two runway expansions.
At today’s event Governor Quinn directed the control tower to clear the extended runway 30-Right (30R) for take-off. The first departing flight broke the ribbon as it lifted off. The “ribbon-cutting” plane was operated by Parks, the nation’s oldest flight school.
The airport is the busiest general aviation facility in the state, hosting more than 20 aviation businesses and operating three runways. General aviation encompasses all business, recreational and commercial aviation that is not associated with scheduled passenger service.
IDOT is currently leading Illinois’ largest construction program in state history through Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. Projects from the program are creating an estimated 155,000 short-term and permanent jobs.