Airport’s new international concourse would move ahead in Abele’s budget

County exec proposes $25 million for project in 2018

Part or all of Concourse E could be converted into an international concourse.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:57 am

General Mitchell International Airport could see construction begin on a new international arrivals terminal next year as part of a $50 million project scheduled to be substantially completed by 2020.

Part or all of Concourse E could be converted into an international concourse.

Milwaukee County executive Chris Abele (see remarks at WISN-TV Channel 12) proposed nearly $25.2 million in funding for the first phase of construction, which would include the demolition of the existing Concourse E at the airport along with footings and foundations, building structure and utility work for the new facility.

The county has already spent nearly $5 million on a feasibility study along with planning and design for the project. The new terminal will replace the current international arrivals building, a stand-alone 23,000-square-foot facility built in 1975. The facility can process about 140 passengers per hour while the new facility will have capacity for 400 passengers an hour.

Mexican airline Volaris announced last year it would begin offering year-round service from Milwaukee to Guadalajara and airport officials have sought to increase international traffic in general. Now former airport director Ismael Bonilla told BizTimes earlier this year building a new terminal would not a guarantee more international traffic, but the service certainly wouldn’t come without a new facility.

Abele’s budget proposal notes that Foxconn Technology Group’s planned development in the region would likely increase passenger and freight traffic at the airport. He also noted the new terminal is designed to expand as international traffic increases in the future.

Funding for the project will come from airport related sources and would not cost taxpayers directly. Almost $8.2 million would come from Airport Development Funding reserves, $2 million from fees paid by airport passengers, and $15 million would come from borrowing backed by those airport fees.

A similar funding structure would be used in the 2019 budget, where Abele plans to propose another $20.1 million to finish the project.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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