Will Chicago get an airport on the South Side?

In May, I’m flying into Chicago. My friends live in Bolingbrook, a suburb to the south about 35 miles from downtown. According to Map Quest, it will take me 54 minutes to get to their house. I’m thinking, if I’m lucky. Traffic through Chicago can be a nightmare. This summer we drove right by downtown at 1:00 in the morning and traffic was still heavy, so heavy that we missed a toll booth lane and had to send our $1.35, or thereabouts, in the mail.

In his column in the New York Times today, Bob Herbert outlines the plan in the works for a new airport in Chicago to be built on the South Side. There are stumbling blocks to such a plan. Politics for one. What interests me is the number of jobs an airport produces, both during construction and afterward. The number is well into the thousands.

From Herbert’s description airports sound like beehives of activity. As he points out, O’Hare has grown to be so massive that it’s unwieldy at times. Although, according to O’Hare’s Web site, it was voted the Global Traveler Award for Best Airport in North America in 2007. Herbert also points out that Midway’s runways are short which poses another problem.

The airport on the South Side makes sense to me. It would sure make getting to Bolingbrook much easier. Possibly it could help lessen traffic through downtown by people who had to head further north in order to fly out of town.