Representative Riley Addresses South Suburban Airport and Southland Infrastructure Projects

January 8, 2019 Press Release

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.– Recently, a Chicago Tribune article stated that the political fate of the South Suburban Airport might be left up to the next Mayor of Chicago.  Retiring State Representative Al Riley states, “This is definitely not the case”.  “The framework, politics and personalities that existed years ago are not today’s realities”.   “I was a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 20 of 2013 which provided a framework for the acquisition of land and the technical procedures necessary to build the airport”, Riley said.  “To date, approximately 4,300 of the 5,800 acres of land in the “Inaugural Footprint” has already been acquired by the State of Illinois.  

Riley states, “I would assume that Governor-Elect Pritzker would see the value of this project to not only the Southland, but the entire region”.  “I trust that he would continue the acquisition of land like the Governors before him”.  “It was my understanding that at the end of the Obama administration, the final technical studies were in progress which would have lead to a “Record of Decision” by the U.S. Department of Transportation to allow or disallow the construction of the airport”.  “So, all of the jurisdictional battles and involvement from the Mayor of Chicago that might have existed in the past just does not exist today, in my opinion”, says Riley.  “Frankly speaking, the next Mayor of Chicago will have plenty of local issues to deal with such as the long term impact of their sale of assets, pension debt, and so forth”.  “The least of their concerns should be South Suburban Airport, which, with other projects, would be a regional economic development engine”, says Riley.  

Nearly a million people live within 30 minutes of the South Suburban Airport.  Representative Riley states, “Despite our growing region, development of the Southland has stalled for years because of the benign neglect of outside actors”. “These development projects include the Red Line Extension to 130th, the Illiana Expressway, connecting two states for commerce, and the Metra South East Service Line to Crete”. “Many of these projects were created in statute and involved public private partnerships”, Riley said.  “So, the framework is there; operationally and by statute”.  “We’ve survived some big hurdles over the years to get to this point.”  “There’s nothing new to be done, and nothing that need to be resurrected, as some have said”, says Riley.  “What’s needed is political will and technical expertise to make these well thought out plans come to fruition for our region”, states Rep. Riley.  

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Representative Riley Will Not Seek Re-election In 2018

September 26, 2017 Press Release

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – State Representative Al Riley announces that he will not seek re-election in 2018, thus ending six terms representing the 38th District in Springfield. Riley came to the House in January 2007. One of his main goals was to focus on the development of the south suburban region. Riley also attempted to highlight regional inequities in the distribution of resources throughout Chicagoland.

“Residents of the Southland have always had some of the longest times to work of anyone in the Chicago metropolitan area.”, Riley says. “Similarly, reaching entertainment venues, schools or other places has always been difficult.” Because of that, Riley has always been a champion of transportation equity. As Chairman of the House Mass Transit Committee, Riley presided over numerous hearings, and developed policies and legislation to address many of those issues.

Riley co-sponsored the bills which created public-private partnerships for the South Suburban Airport and Illiana Expressway. He also was the sponsor of legislation, which abolished “Section 41” of the Metropolitan Transit Act of 1945. The abolition of Section 41 negated the CTA’s ability to throw out a claimant’s injury lawsuit if a minor detail was missing from the claim.

Riley and his other Southland colleagues worked collaboratively to develop the I-294/I-57 interchange and bridge projects. He also started the process, almost ten years ago, to secure new Highliner cars on the Metra Electric line that had bathroom facilities; the last commuter rail line to have such facilities. Recently, he was the chief sponsor of a bill creating a process for the sale of the Thompson Center and a bill creating a framework for procurement reform, which was recently signed into law

During his tenure, Riley has served on numerous committees; chairing Cities and Villages, Mass Transit and State Government Administration. “I guess one could look at the committees I chaired, and get an idea of my philosophical bent”, Riley says. Riley also served two terms as Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois House. “I really enjoyed my tenure in House leadership”. “It gave me a larger platform from which to discuss, create policies, and help my colleagues in a more official position”, Riley says. Riley’s intention is to serve out his current term in the House, which ends January, 2019.

“Many of the things I set out to accomplish in 2007, I have done so”, says Riley. “If a few did not fully come to fruition, I am proud that I raised the issue and in many cases, got laws on the books”. “My plan is to continue that kind of advocacy once my legislative career ends”, Riley says.


Riley Wants Funding For Breast and Cervical Cancer To Be Restored in the State Budget

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill – State Rep. Al Riley is concerned about the proposed cuts to the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP).

The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) program has been providing breast and cervical cancer screenings to the women of Illinois since 1995. This year, the Governor has proposed cutting the program by nearly $10 million. Nearly 26,000 women receive testing for cancer through this program last year. That number will drop to 13,000 with the proposed budget cuts. There is currently a four month waiting list to get tested.

In the mid 1980’s, Riley served as the Director of Biostatistics and Computer Services for the former Illinois Cancer Council. The ICC was the National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive Cancer Center for the State of Illinois. The ICC conducted clinical trials of investigational treatments along with cancer control and epidemiologic studies. Riley’s background and concern has made him a staunch advocate for breast cancer research through the years.

Riley states, “Early detection is the key to survival. Too many women have lost their fight with cancer due to late detection. We have to be sure that all people have equal access to early breast and cervical cancer screening, especially those women who are low-income wage earners.”

According to the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, survival from breast cancer has improved tremendously over the past 20 years, but not for African American and low-income women.

For more information, please contact Riley by email at or by phone at (708) 799-4364.



Illiana Corridor Project Receives Federal Approval – FHWA Signs the Tier Two Record of Decision, Marks End of Planning Phase

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) signed the Illiana Corridor Tier Two Record of Decision, marking the completion of the project’s environmental planning phase. With the issuance of the Record of Decision, the FHWA supports the transportation need for the project, approves the analysis of its environmental impacts, as well as any mitigation efforts, and concurs with the selected route alternative for the new 50-mile highway facility connecting Interstate 55 near Wilmington, IL, with Interstate 65 near Lowell, IN.

This action provides federal authorization for Indiana and Illinois to move the project forward from the planning phase to the implementation phase, laying the foundation for the continued exploration of public-private partnership opportunities for construction, maintenance and operation. Land acquisition efforts, including landowner relations and local planning activities, also can continue.

Throughout the Illiana planning process, the states and FHWA considered the benefits, impacts, and costs of many alternatives, as well as a host of federal policies, procedures, and regulations that guide transportation projects.

Studies for the Illiana Corridor were driven by an inclusive planning process with an unprecedented amount of stakeholder outreach and coordination, including five public meetings, two public hearings, five large-scale landowner meetings, sixteen Corridor Planning Group meetings, and over 300 small group meetings.  The Record of Decision demonstrates how the bi-state partnership between Illinois and Indiana successfully collaborated with federal and state agencies, townships, municipalities, counties, elected officials, and all stakeholders to develop the region’s vision for a 21st century transportation system, while protecting our environment.  This achievement will help facilitate long-term job creation and economic growth, while addressing a major transportation need in the Midwest.

The Tier Two Record of Decision and other information about the project can be viewed at
Click here to view the Tier Two Record of Decision

Source:  Illiana Corridor – Partners for Progress website: