One runway and five gates seems like a fairly simply endeavor, but for the Southland area of Chicago it will create thousands of badly needed jobs and non-stop access to other airports. On Saturday, a shovel-toting U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. attended a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony to promote the construction. Citing it as a way to revive Chicago’s dwindling economy, Jackson said the Peotone airport will be built at no cost to taxpayers or airlines and would decrease fares by increasing competition.
Joined by local pastors, Jackson made a ceremonious speech despite rallying from hundreds of protesters from local farmers concerned about their livelihood. And despite Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s disapproval and Gov. Pat Quinn’s concern—even trying to forge a partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration—Jackson still contends the third airport in the city will be financially backed by private investors. Fresh off a landslide primary election victory against former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, Jackson also plans to make affordable healthcare a priority before the November congressional elections.