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Woodridge Village Board Backs Peotone Airport

Trustee Greg Abbott was the only trustee to vote against the resolution.

The approved a resolution Thursday night to support the construction of a regional airport in Peotone. 

The village board voted 4-1 to support the resolution. Trustee Greg Abbott voted against it. Trustee David Pittinger was absent. 

"I don't see this as an issue we should weigh into," Abbott said. "It will not affect our residents. We should not get into a fight by different factions. We're being used as pawns by different entities between each other to run or control the proposed airport." 

No other trustees made a comment about the airport. Mayor William F. Murphy was also absent from the meeting. 

 to become part of the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission for a third Chicago airport in December. 

Last month, Will County Board Chairman James Moustis sent a letter to Mayor William F. Murphy denouncing Jackson's ALNAC plan and suggesting an airport authority created by the state whose members are residents of Will County govern the Peotone airport. 

The  will vote on a resolution to support the Peotone airport Thursday but not make a position as to who should govern it.  

The resolution states that the village supported the construction of a new regional airport in northeastern Illinois in 1998. As there have been "many studies demonstrating the benefits of a new regional airport," the village will "reaffirm its position endorsing construction of a new regional airport in the Peotone area." 

But the village will not endorse either ALNAC or Will County in its governance of the airport. 

"Neither the ALNAC model nor the Will County model would provide Woodridge much potential for representation, as Woodridge's Will County population is negligable," village staff wrote in the agenda for Thursday's meeting. 

"We are on the furthest reaches of Will County from the proposed airport and the facility would not have direct economic benefits for us, nor would we suffer the negative consequences of an airport. The proposed resolution supports a third airport consistent with the position taken in 1998 but does not speak to governance." 

The resolution also states that a copy of the resolution will be sent to U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk; Congresswoman Judy Biggert; State Senators Kirk Dillard, Christine Radogno, and A.J. Wilhelmi; and State Representatives Patricia Bellock, Michael Connelly, Jim Durkin and Emily McAsey to show the village's support. 

The project, named the Abraham Lincoln National Airport, is slated to be built on a 28,000-acre property near Peotone that is owned by the state of Illinois. The first phase of the airport would be built on a 4,000-acre section of that property. 

Two letters to the editor have been submitted on the topic: 

The village board will meet to discuss the resolution at its regular meeting on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Village Hall. 

The Resolution 

The resolution reads: 

"Whereas in 1998 the Village of Woodridge formally adopted a position supporting the construction of a new regional airport for Northeastern Illinois; 

Whereas, there are many studies demonstrating the benefits of a new regional airport. 

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Mayor and Board of Trustees of the village of Woodridge, DuPage, Will and Cook counties Illinois, that the village of Woodridge reaffirms its position endorsing construction of a new regional airport in the Peotone area; and 

Be it further resolved, that a copy of this resolution be sent to U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk; Congresswoman Judy Biggert; State Senators Kirk Dillard, Christine Radogno, and A.J. Wilhelmi; and State Representatives Patricia Bellock, Michael Connelly, Jim Durkin and Emily McAsey. 

The ALNAC plan 

U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has proposed that the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission would govern the airport, including having control of appointments to the commission.

The commission included 21 municipalities in December, including University Park, Park Forest, South Holland and Lansing.

Jackson likened the commission to a “broad policy organization of transparent elected officials and mayors” which could determine, for instance, how many minimum and prevailing wage jobs are available or if certain nearby communities would be guaranteed jobs.

The commission is open to all Cook, Will and Kankakee home-rule municipalities to join. Woodridge falls into DuPage, Will and Cook counties. 

Jackson asked Woodridge  at a Dec. 21 village board meeting. 

“Your joining would signal an avalanche of other home-rule municipalities in Will County to encourage the Governor to begin construction of this project, and that’s why I’m here,” Jackson told the board. 

The Will County plan 

Will County Board Chairman James Moustis sent a letter to Mayor William F. Murphy Jan. 10 detailing "just some of ALNAC's fundamental flaws and dangers as reflected in the intergovernmental agreement municipalities are being asked to sign," he wrote. 

ALNAC is effectively controlled by Elk Grove Village, Moustis wrote, which would have control over all decisions "regarding officers, directors, finance, budget, operations, contracts, litigation and airport development." 

This power would then transfer to University Park and Park Forest after the airport is opened, according to the letter. 

Among other points, Moustis wrote that the ALNAC structure was sold to some municipalities based on the promise of shared airport revenue, which won't materialize, and that in Dec. 2005, Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a legal opinion stating ALNAC violated law in its selection of developers for the airport. 

Moustis recommended a duly authorized airport authority created by the Illinois General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor with Will County residents as the majority of its members. 

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