State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said Indiana is the most logical place for Boeing to build the plane, given the state's strong manufacturing workforce and Purdue University's aeronautics programs — and Northwest Indiana boasts all the road, rail, port and airport connections Boeing is seeking.
"I'm enthused about what it could do for the Northwest Indiana economy, and I'm hoping we're the ones in consideration, because I think it could be great for us," Soliday said. "I could build you a good case for a Gary-area location."
Soliday, a pilot and former United Airlines executive, said the soon-to-be completed 8,900-foot runway at Gary/Chicago International Airport, which is already home to Boeing's Midwest corporate jet fleet, "is as good as 9,000."
Indianapolis, Terre Haute and Fort Wayne all have airport runways exceeding 9,000 feet, though none have the same road, rail and port connections as Northwest Indiana.