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Sun, Mar 20, 2005

FAA To Gary: Go For It

FAA Approves Growth Plan

The Gary/Chicago International Airport got a boost Thursday when the FAA approved plans for airport expansion. The proposed plans include an extension of the main runway, runway area safety enhancements, expanding the terminal and other changes needed to accommodate larger aircraft and future levels of passenger traffic.

"Improving safety at airports throughout the Chicagoland area is a priority for the FAA," said Cecelia L. Hunziker, Great Lakes Regional Administrator. "These planned improvements at Gary continue the positive steps that we are taking for safer and more efficient air travel."

"This is a great accomplishment for the Airport. The FAA approval means that based on their review we have a sound plan in the areas of the environment, capacity needs, practicality of expanding the airport, and other key issues. We can move forward with the targeted Gary/Chicago Airport expansion and economic development in south Chicagoland," said Gary Mayor Scott L. King.

The Airport Master Plan and Environmental Impact Statements have been under review by the FAA since 2002. The Airport Authority will soon start relocating railroad tracks and acquiring land nearby to get the project underway. Environmental mitigation work will also begin to reduce the effects on wetlands. The airport expects to receive additional state and federal funding, although some money is already coming in.

"With this approved study, the Gary/Chicago Airport can aggressively seek out funding with the ability to start construction immediately," Senator Bayh said. "Today's announcement clears the way for the airport to begin acting on its master plan and gives it an important leg up on becoming the third major airport in the area. This is the green light we've been waiting for and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Lugar, Congressman Visclosky and Gary/Chicago Airport officials to accomplish the goals outlined in the airport's master plan."



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