Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) announced that legislation he helped write and pass in February will provide funding for the badly needed resurfacing of a runway at Lewis University Airport, helping the airport to attract more businesses to northern Will County and southwest Cook County, and promote regional job creation and economic growth.
The work is being paid for by a new $2.4 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration under the four-year FAA reauthorization bill that Congressman Lipinski helped write and pass in February as northeastern Illinois' most senior member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee's Aviation Subcommittee.
"I'm very pleased to have helped provide this funding for Lewis University Airport so that it can continue to grow and attract new businesses and jobs to Romeoville, Lockport, and the surrounding communities," Rep. Lipinski said. "This is an urgently needed step in building the airport's potential as a magnet for economic growth. I'm going to continue working to ensure that the federal government recognizes the need to enhance capacity at Lewis University Airport and invest in its future."
Lewis University Airport's first runway dates to 1990 and must be reconstructed to continue accommodating the larger aircraft that use the airport now and will continue to do so as it grows.
"Lewis University Airport has a vital role to play as we work to attract more employers, which is why I've been working to assure its current and future health," said Romeoville Mayor John Noak, who serves as a member of the Joliet Regional Port District Board. "This grant is much needed and much appreciated, and I thank Rep. Lipinski for all his efforts on the airport's behalf at the federal level."
In November, Congressman Lipinski brought the head of the FAA's Airports Division to the airport to meet with numerous local officials and discuss plans for the airport's future and how it can stimulate further economic growth and job creation in nearby communities. The visit by Christa Fornarotto, the FAA's Associate Administrator for Airports, was the first by such a high-level FAA official in memory.
Owned and operated by the Joliet Regional Port District, Lewis University Airport accommodates 105,000 arrivals and departures annually. Its convenient location near three major interstate highways in a fast-growing area has attracted numerous Fortune 500 and other corporate aircraft users and makes it a key selling point for the region as it seeks to attract jobs.