ROMEOVILLE – Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) today joined state and local officials at the Lewis University Airport (KLOT) to announce that the Joliet Regional Port District will receive $6 million in state funding to build an air traffic control tower at the airport. The tower will not only provide increased safety but will facilitate expanded use of the airport to grow the regional economy and create jobs. The funding, which was included in an infrastructure bill that passed the General Assembly on Sunday, had been requested by Lipinski as well as local officials. Lipinski was joined at today’s announcement by Romeoville Mayor John Noak, Joliet Regional Port District Board Chairman David Silverman, Illinois State Representative Natalie Manley, Illinois State Representative John Connor, Will County Executive Larry Walsh, Lewis University President Dr. David J. Livingston, and KLOT General Manager Chris Lawson.
“Six years ago when I first began to represent the communities around Lewis University Airport, I was made aware of the great potential for economic development and job creation if upgrades could be made at the airport, particularly the installation of a control tower,” said Lipinski. “In the past few years I’ve been able to get federal funding for runway improvements and to make the tower eligible for federal funding, helping the airport to grow business opportunities. When the state began considering a capital bill, I reached out to the leaders of the two chambers and the governor to request $6 million to build the tower. I am thankful that they recognized the importance of this project and have provided the funding.”
KLOT is one of the top five busiest airports in Illinois and ranked in the top third in the nation. The addition of the tower will increase safety and offer a higher level of service to the public flying into KLOT.
“In addition to greatly enhancing the safety and efficiency of the airport, the new control tower will help attract higher caliber companies with better career opportunities,” said Mayor Noak. “This has truly been a collaboration between federal, state and local governments along with our partners at Lewis University. We can’t thank Congressman Lipinski enough for his leadership in securing the funding for this project and for the continued support of our state legislators. This control tower will open up new opportunities for Romeoville and the entire region.”
Added KLOT Manager Lawson, “With the compliment of the control tower, KLOT will now be serious consideration to the flying business community.”
The Joliet Regional Port District has entered into contract with Michael Baker International who has assembled a team, which includes AJT Engineering, one of the world’s most experienced control tower design firms, to design and prepare construction documents for bid in the Fall of 2019.
“I’ve worked hard on this project along with officials in Romeoville and Will County and I am glad this day has finally come,” Lipinski said. “As the senior Illinois member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Aviation, I will continue to work with the Joliet Regional Port District, local state representatives and senators, the Village of Romeoville, Will County, Lewis University, and other local stakeholders to continue to improve the airport’s infrastructure and help it reach its full potential.”
Residents should note that even with the new control tower, the airport will not become a commercial service airport and the air traffic will not significantly increase.