Officials: Repair Runway, Land Jobs
November 11, 2011
By Joseph Ruzich
Local and federal officials met Thursday morning to discuss funding options for revamping one of two runways at Lewis University Airport in Romeoville.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski of Western Springs and Romeoville Mayor John Noak were joined by FAA Associate Administrator for Airports Christa Fornarotto. All agreed the runway is old and cracking and that fixing it would allow larger airplanes and more corporate jets to land at the airport, which is operated by the Joliet Regional Port District.
"This (airport) is a fantastic asset to northeastern Will County, but this airport can be even more," said Lipinski. "This airport could be the executive airport for the Chicagoland region."
Repairing the runway would also spur economic development and create jobs in the area, officials said.
The runway was constructed in the 1960s, according to an airport engineering official, and was not built with the best construction techniques to handle the weight of larger aircraft.
The total cost for the runway repair would be about $4.8 million, officials said. With airplane activity increasing at the site, officials are also considering the construction of an air traffic control tower and a new runway ramp. However, those are secondary projects, and the cost for a new control tower and ramp is unclear, officials said.
Lipinski, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Aviation Subcommittee, is working to help pass a long-term FAA reauthorization bill that provides more funding for the FAA's airport improvement program. He said program funding would allow for the planned reconstruction of the runway.
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