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Lightfoot cool to Peotone airport: Midway, O’Hare ‘1st priority’

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot met Tuesday in Washington, D.C., with House leaders (left) Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., her ally and an early endorser, Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Lightfoot said Wednesday her priorities are Midway and O’Hare airports in Chicago, not Peotone, a project Kelly is trying to jumpstart. | Provided photo

WASHINGTON — Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, asked about whether she backs a proposed airport in Peotone — a project her ally, Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., is trying to jumpstart — said Wednesday her priorities are Midway and O’Hare airports in Chicago.

That’s not a yes but also not a hard no, giving Kelly space to see whether she can resurrect the long dormant project.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejected moving forward on the far south suburban airport, whose development would have an enormous impact on Kelly’s district.

Last week, 54 elected officials, including Kelly and fellow Illinois House Democrats Danny Davis and Bobby Rush plus dozens of state senators, state representatives, Cook County commissioners, south suburban mayors and Chicago aldermen signed a letter asking Gov. J.B. Pritzker for $150 million to develop infrastructure improvements needed for an airport.

Kelly, an early Lightfoot endorser, wins if the state sends money to her area for roadway and other surface transportation improvements even if Peotone remains grounded.

Asked about whether she supported Peotone moving ahead, Lightfoot said, “As the mayor of Chicago my first priority is going to be making sure that we continue to see the significant economic progress that we’ve had at Midway.

“You know, out of deference to Congresswoman Kelly, I will certainly be open to a conversation, but my first priority is making sure that we continue to make progress at Midway and O’Hare.”