A Publication of WTVP

Getting around in central Illinois has never been easier—whether by air, rail, highway or waterway. Nearly half of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive of Peoria, and our central location on the Illinois River offers distinct advantages for business and recreation. Meanwhile, local commutes are short and sweet—with most destinations just minutes away!

General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport (PIA) offers daily flights to four of the five most connected airports in the country, getting you to your destination more quickly. With all the amenities of a metropolitan airport, minus the congestion and hassle, nearly 700,000 people fly through PIA each year, connecting Peoria to anywhere in the world.

“We had numerous record months last year and set a new record high in July of 2019,” says Director of Airport Gene Olson. “Fares are comparable with Chicago on competitive routes, and once you add up the cost of your time, parking, gas, etc., Peoria is clearly cheaper. PIA strikes that perfect balance of convenience combined with connectivity.”

PIA offers travel to 11 nonstop destinations via four airlines: American, Delta, United and Allegiant. With daily flights to five hub airports—Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth and Minneapolis—Peoria is among the best connected of downstate airports. After setting another passenger record in 2019, PIA will launch nonstop service to Nashville in June 2020.

PIA offers TSA Pre-Check, U.S. Customs Global Entry and a Premier Club private lounge—all rare amenities among smaller airports. Access to the lounge and secure parking just steps from the main terminal are available for an annual subscription. Otherwise, parking at PIA is free.

The Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria owns 115 hangars between PIA and Mt. Hawley Airport, offering a variety of services for general or corporate aviation. An on-site U.S. Customs facility provides in-person appointments to receive approval for Global Entry, servicing corporate and general aviation flights throughout the year. UPS operates air freight service at PIA daily, shipping millions of pounds of cargo each year, while additional greenfield space is available for the development of new freight-oriented businesses.

A boat on the Illinois River

Corporate aviation is serviced by Byerly Aviation, while PIA also has six corporate flight departments in private hangars. In addition, the Air National Guard (flying C-130s) and the Army National Guard (flying Chinook helicopters) both call PIA home. 

Mt. Hawley Airport caters to corporate and general aviation pilots, with its prime location near many area businesses. Recreational pilots also benefit from Mt. Hawley, which offers a courtesy vehicle, mechanical services and flight school along with hangars for rent.

Private flight services are also available at airports in Tazewell, Marshall, Fulton and Logan counties, while the Central Illinois Regional Airport in nearby Bloomington/Normal offers service to seven nonstop destinations.

With its central location in the Midwest, Greater Peoria offers easy access to the interstate highway system, with quick connections to Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis and beyond. Conveniently positioned on the Illinois River, Peoria and the surrounding region lie at the heart of the nation’s inland waterway system, with routes stretching from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Greater Peoria Mass Transit District (CityLink) is the local hub for public transportation, operating 20 bus routes throughout the region. Burlington Trailways provides intercity passenger bus service in the Midwest and beyond, while passenger rail is available at nearby Amtrak stops in Lincoln, Bloomington-Normal and Galesburg. 

Peoria Charter Coach provides daily service to Chicago and unique day trips around the Midwest, while its sister firm, Peoria Charter Travel, offers full-service accommodations to destinations around the world. Greater Peoria is also served by 11 railroad lines and has its own terminal and switching railroad.

With miles of trails around the region—and plans for more connectivity—Greater Peoria has greatly expanded its biking infrastructure in recent years. Leading the way is Bike Peoria, an advocacy group that works to encourage bike-friendly features in local projects; hosts regular meetups, rides and workshops; and runs a co-op space for low-cost bike repair and other community resources. PP