Anew airport will be required for the Chicago area by 2001, according to a study released last week by the state.

The study, conducted by a team of outside consultants, concluded that "the need for additional air capacity is imminent," Passenger volume for a new airport is estimated at up to 7.3 million in 2001, 17 million in 2010, and 29.6 million in 2020, according to the study.

As a result of the study, the state plans to proceed with its plans to develop a master plan and environmental studies for an airport in Peotone,. a town about 35 miles southwest of Chicago.

Gov. Jim Edgar proposed the Peotone airport in November 1992, after the state legislature failed to pass a plan to build a new airport on Chicago's southeast side. Edgar's proposal included financing the Peotone site with $1.4 billion of general airport revenue bonds, as well as with federal aviation trust fund money and concession and fuel sales revenues at the new airport. The governor also said private funds could be used.

Edgar's plan still lacks support from Chicago and Indiana, both of which had been brought into past airport planning discussions by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, who does not believe Peotone is a "viable site" for an airport, said regional consensus will be needed for the FAA to approve a new airport in the Chicago area, according to his spokeswoman.

-- Karen Pierog, Chicago

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