FAA gives first OK for Peotone airport

Sunday, September 2, 2001

CHICAGO -- The Federal Aviation Administration has given its preliminary approval to Gov. George Ryan's proposal for a third Chicago-area airport at south suburb Peotone, according to a published report.

The report was issued Friday by the FAA, the Chicago Tribune reported in Saturday's editions. The report by the federal agency said the proposed 23,492-acre site passed the test on a wide of issues, including its environmental impact on surrounding forest preserves, jet engine noise levels, and air quality.

The FAA analysis is the agency's initial review of Ryan's Peotone proposal, which is opposed by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Faley, who favors expansion of O'Hare International Airport. The initial analysis helps determine whether the local officials get final authority to proceed. FAA approval is also necessary for the new airport to receive federal funding.

The FAA is expected to make its final decision on the site by next March. The state, however, has already begun negotiations to purchase land from property owners inside the site's borders.

The FAA also officially ruled out major roles for airports in Gary, Rockford and Milwaukee in easing the current crowding at O'Hare.

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