I am writing today to voice my support for the Chicago Rockford International Airport expansion. The airport is dear to my heart.
I spent many years there as head of security for UPS. I was there when UPS decided to build a facility at the airport, and I was there to watch our operations expand and provide jobs.
The Rockford airport is unique in that expansion has been steady and the need for more capacity has driven the expansion. During the 1990s, airport expansion was based on the theory that “if we build it, they will come."
Makes for a great movie, but the fact is that real expansion is based on the needs of the local and regional economy and the fundamental principles of logistics.
The Rockford airport is also unique in that the expansion of the airport over time has been methodical and has made use of the available land in a way that maximizes the potential of the airport.
Many airports across the country, and even here in Illinois, are landlocked and their expansions are either impossible or extremely expensive.
The new expansion plans for the airport are solid and continue that tradition of utilizing resources, including available ground, in an efficient manner.
I would urge everyone in the community to rally around the airport expansion and oppose any further delays in the construction of the airport.
There is a greater need for the ability to process deliveries in light of the fact that the costs of shipping by air are much more competitive due to the inability of other shipping means to keep up with capacity.
During the Cold War of the 20th century, the U.S. military used air transport to defeat the effects of a Communist blockade of Berlin. It was called the Berlin Airlift and in that day and age it was a historical and herculean undertaking. We have a come a long way from that time, but the importance of our airport to our economy is at critical levels.
Whether it is consumer goods or parts for our manufacturers, there exists a critical need to make sure our supply chain is functioning at full capacity.
The people at the airport have worked hard to get us to where we are at in the chain and we need to start construction as soon as we are able. Further delays could impact our opportunity. Let’s get this done.
Gary Caruana is the Winnebago County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Rockford Register Star: Rally around Rockford airport expansion, oppose further delays