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Cory
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State eyes Gary airport expansion


By J.K. Wall
[email protected]


The State of Indiana would spend as much as $20 million over the next two years to help Northwest Indiana expand the Gary airport and develop a commuter transportation system, according to a plan announced today by Gov. Mitch Daniels.

The governor vowed the project would bring growth and jobs to the area.

The state would draw its funds from toll road reserves. Meanwhile, Lake and Porter counties, along with the cities of Gary, East Chicago and Hammond, would contribute $3.5 million annually from riverboat admissions taxes and other funds to support the project.

A total of as much as $27.5 million annually would be managed by a regional development authority with a seven-member board. Daniels would appoint the chairman and one other member. Lake and Porter counties, and the cities of Gary, East Chicago and Hammond would appoint one representative each.

The state’s two-year commitment would be followed up with further funds later, Daniels said. He said he would look at raising tolls on Indiana’s toll roads to keep funding the Northwest Indiana effort.

The proposal needs legislative approval. Daniels said he and legislators from Northwest Indiana would try to amend their proposal into an existing bill before the General Assembly adjourns on April 29.

“There are only so many days left,” Daniels said at a news conference while flanked by Rep. Chet Dobis, D-Merrillville, Rep. Ralph Ayres, R-Chesterton, Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary and Sen. Sam Smith, D-East Chicago.

Dobis and Daniels said they would prefer not to amend the proposal into the state budget.

Daniels said the regional authority would seek to use its funds to leverage federal dollars to support an expansion of the Gary airport that would give it the capacity to be a third airport serving Chicago. The needed runway expansion is estimated to cost $25 million, said John Clark, Daniels' aide for special projects.

Federal funds might also be available for the transportation projects and other economic projects that are planned.
 

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Hallealujah! (sp?)

read about this weeks ago in thetimesonline.com

The initiative for this came from the Region. Finally they are working with Indy. Excellent news, for the entire Midwest.

Kill Peotone!!
 

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About time Gary got something. I've been waiting for it to follow suite with Indiana's other big cities.
 

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I agree, expand Gary/Chicago airport to help lighten the load on O'Hare (and Midway). Screw Peotone!
 

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SSLL
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Nice to see the state giving some support. Gary-Chicago Int'l would make an ideal third airport. Firstly, it's built; secondly, it's farther away from Midway and O'Hare but closer to the city than Peotone; thirdly, it'd help out NW Indiana.
 

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I agree with everyone here that this makes a heck of alot more sense than Peotone....closer in, and an economic shot in the arm for NW Indiana....

Also, from a multi-modal persepective, the Gary airport is adjacent to the interstate system and it is near the South Shore Line commuter rail...so I could see that that these forms of ground transport could be integrated w. an airport expansion, if they take it to the "Third Chicagoland Regional Airport" level.
 

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Gary would bring more people into NW indiana and the south suburbs.

This may help the skyway earn more money, but could also cause more congestion on the 80/94, which is already is.
 

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SSLL
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How much does it handle in passengers now, and how much can it handle? I couldn't find the figure on their website, but this awesome picture titled "Moneyshot.jpg":)

 
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