Milwaukee must seize the aerotropolis advantage

    On Wednesday, I introduced legislation to further advance economic development around Milwaukee County’s General Mitchell International Airport. Upon passage by the full County Board, Milwaukee County will join seven other municipalities to form a nonprofit organization that will more effectively market the unique opportunities available in our area.

    We now have a low-cost airport, low street traffic and low shipping costs. This is in stark contrast to Chicago’s higher cost of doing business, complicated by long shipping delays via both road and air.

    This is a prime opportunity for Milwaukee business and economic development teams to show off our competitive prowess. Within a few minutes of the airport, you have different areas that are independently vying for economic attention: the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Cudahy, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, St. Francis, Greendale, and Greenfield.

    With the passage of the aerotropolis resolution by Milwaukee County this month, we will all work together to compete as a region for economic development.

    Why now? Mitchell International has seen record passenger counts as major airlines compete for market share at our low-cost airport. This has attracted even more residents from Milwaukee County – and northern Illinois – to take trips across the county at great low rates. If we work successfully together as a region, this will be a precursor to bring new companies here to take advantage of our low-cost airport infrastructure.

    Now that the state has finally secured some funding to fix the Hoan Bridge, we know that the Port of Milwaukee can continue its operations uninterrupted by street level draw bridges (that might have replaced the Hoan). Our port is more cost-effective than Chicago’s, and our shipping turnarounds are much faster because of our less congested streets.

    All the stars are lining up for Milwaukee. This is the opportunity we have been waiting for. Let’s take it.


    Supervisor Chris Larson represents the 14th District, which includes General Mitchell International Airport.

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