A new study shows the La Crosse Regional Airport has a growing economic footprint in the area, resulting in more jobs and more money spent in the community.
The five-year impact report from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Aeronautics shows La Crosse’s airport generates about $53.1 million dollars in revenue a year to the local and state economies, up from approximately $38.3 million in 2011.
“It is also is an economic driver. It stimulates the local economy. It does factor in businesses relocating into the area,” airport director Clinton Torp said.
He said the number of passengers coming into the terminal has been relatively constant, but there has been an increase on the corporate aviation side.
“That would be private companies using jets to come in and out of the airport, as well as Fort McCoy, etc.,” he said.
Although the airport only employees about 100 people directly, economic indicators show it financially supports around 800 jobs in the La Crosse area, which is almost double the number in 2011.
“When a dollar’s spent in the community, that dollar gets multiplied throughout the community at hotels and restaurants, which creates jobs,” Torp said.
“I think it’s great,” flyer Emily Dunneisen said. “Everybody needs to travel these days, and having something that’s going to create jobs, and just make it easier for our community to have access to the outside world, is, I think, extremely important for people.”
Torp said the airport plans to put money back into the facility as well, with a new dedicated nursing-mothers room for up to $20,000 and a lightning strike prevention device for about $17,000.
Torp said in the past month alone lightning strikes have caused thousands of dollars worth of damage. The requested additions will go to city council for a vote next month.