Construction is expected to start next month on 65,220-square-foot expansion to the general aviation ramp on the east side of Austin Straubel International Airport.
The $1 million expansion, part of a project that will be done in phases, will mean more parking space for aircraft and will provide an additional connection to the airport’s primary taxi way.
The project is driven in part by increases in general aviation traffic and continued expansion of Jet Air, one of two aircraft services providers at the airport.
Jet Air’s “business here has expanded to the point where they really need to have more ramp,” airport director Tom Miller said. “There’s very serious congestion here and really only one good way in and one good way out.”
Jet Air is in the midst of building a new 34,000-square-foot hanger at the airport.
The ramp expansion is expected to be finished in July, ahead of the weeklong Experimental Aircraft Association airshow in Oshkosh, another traffic driver at Austin Straubel International Airport.
“There are specific, very busy, days where you need to have as much concrete out there to park airplanes as possible,” Miller said. “It’s no secret whenever the Packers play at homeit’s a very important business day here at the airport.
“The more airplanes you have here, the more revenue it generates for the community,” he said. “The people who utilize the facility rent cars, buy gas, eat in restaurants, and maybe go across the street and have some entertainment at the casino.”
When finished, the ramp will offer more than five acres of parking space on the east side of the airport. More than seven acres of parking space surrounds Executive Aviation on the western side of the airport, Miller said.
The state is paying for 80 percent of the project, with the remainder of the cost being covered by the county through revenues generated by the airport.
The ramp expansion is expected to generate additional revenue for the airport, and state and local officials framed the project as an economic development investment in the area.
“It’s not just about transportation, it’s really about economic development,” said Gov. Scott Walker, who was at Jet Air on Monday for the announcement. “Employers look at this region and see this kind of growth and it sends a very strong message that this is a place to grow, to come to, to do business in, and expand businessopportunities.”
Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach said the airport is a key part of the area’s economic development assets and aids in reaching a global market.
“We continue to look at … what we can do to leverage this opportunity to make sure this Brown County, Northeastern Wisconsin, is in a position to be competitive in the future for job creation,” he said.