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Sunday, April 22, 2012
Singer challenges airport funding; ALNAC responds
By Mary Baskerville
Carriage Stone Communications
PEOTONE—Will County Board member Cory Singer questions the validity of the claim by the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission regarding secured funding for the creation of the proposed third airport.
Singer, speaking Saturday on site of two events—the blessing of land by a coalition of ministers supporting the airport, and at the staging ground for the Shut This Airport Nightmare Down rally and parade—Singer claimed that U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. does not have a guarantee for funding backed by the Canadian government.
Singer claimed that the $700 million in funding is not secured by the Canadian government: “Well it’s false—we did a little digging of our own."
Responding to the charge, ALNAC President Al McGowan told Will County News that the charge is an attempt to “muddy the waters.”
McGowan’s first reaction was surprise at the Singer statement. “Hasn’t he seen the letter? he asked.
McGowan released a letter from the Canadian Commercial Corporation to Gov. Patrick Quinn, dated February 23, 2010. The letter, signed by Donald Oslen, Director, Business Developmental and Sales for the Canadian Commercial Corporation, reads, in part: “The Canadian Commercial Corporation is mandated by the Government of Canada to assist in the development of trade between countries, developing unique relationships and often undertaking bilateral government-to-government arrangements. It should be noted that the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) can act as an ongoing sponsor of undertakings made by SNC-Lavalin on this project, the details of which are to be resolved at a later date. CCC can also coordinate financing, guarantees and special arrangements for projects it has a role in.”
The letter also endorses “the involvement of SNC-Lavalin as a capable infrastructure developer on this design, finance, build and operate project.”
McGowan said the guarantee of the $700 million is strong and secure, adding that either of the two developers working with the ALNAC—Canadian based SNC Lavalin or LCOR could fund the airport individually. Singer is “raising a smokescreen,” McGowan said. “That’s exactly what he’s doing.”
McGowan said the issue is the money—“and SNC-Lavalin and LCOR have the $700 million
of their own money to build the airport,” he said.
While Singer and others have raised issue with the ethics of the SNC-Lavalin, McGowan said the companies do infrastructure work worldwide. “We have confidence in these companies to build the airport.”
The CCC “is the backup—it’s the financial backup,” McGowan said, adding, it is just “additional insurance to move forward.”