State Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, visited Chicago Rockford International Airport Wednesday and talked with Executive Director Michael Dunn about construction aimed at creating jobs and regional economic investment.
“This airport and its leadership have been proactive champions about the economic potential of Rockford and its surrounding area,” Wallace said. “In particular, I’m proud of the commitment not just toward creating jobs, but of also installing educational training space that will allow local students the opportunity to learn skills that will lead to well-paying, long-term careers.”
The airport is building a $40 million maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility. When completed, the facility will have the ability to service the largest commercial jets currently in service, including the Boeing 747-8 and Airbus A380. It is expected the project will create 500 or more jobs.
Additionally, the airport has partnered with Rock Valley College to increase enrollment and expand the school’s aviation maintenance training program by building a new, larger training center that opened in the fall semester of 2015.
After promised state funding for the MRO project was held up during the state budget impasse, the airport was able to secure credit from local banks to continue and finish construction. The facility is expected to open later in 2016.
“I will continue my fight to ensure these promised funds make it to the airport,” Wallace said. “Our local community stepped up to make sure this facility became a reality. The state must honor its commitments as well.”
Photos, Jon McGinty