MONEE | A forum on Sept. 23 in Joliet will develop a businss plan for a long proposed airport, Gov. Pat Quinn said Thursday.
The governor said the forum with private developers, air carriers and potential tenants is evidence that a new Chicago-area airport is progressing and will be built in what is now cornfields in eastern Will County.
State officials also unveiled a new sign that declares the Bult Field airstrip is now both state property and "the future site of the South Suburban Airport."
The formerly private airstrip with a 5,000-foot runway became state transportation department property on June 30 for $34 million.
Transportation department spokesman Guy Tridgell said Bult Field will not be transformed into the long-discussed airport, but would be operated in conjunction with a new airport to be built directly north of Bult Field.
Discussion for a new Chicago-area airport to supplement O'Hare International and Midway airports has taken place since the late 1960s, with debate increasing in the late 1980s. An inability to reach a consensus on the project has prevented work from beginning.
Citing the roughly 1.8 million people who live in southern Cook, Will and Kankakee counties, Quinn said, "You're talking about a region that would be one of the nation's largest cities if it were combined."