Chris Abele proposes international terminal at Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport

$25 million proposed in 2018 county budget
New international terminal proposed for MKE
Posted at 9:30 AM, Sep 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 16:04:07-04

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele wants to include $25 million in his 2018 budget for an international terminal at Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport. 

He made the announcement as part of his annual budget address Thursday morning.

Abele said the project, if the funding is approved by the County Board, calls for the demolition of the airport's E Concourse in 2018. 

The first phase of construction of a new, international terminal "that can accommodate multiple gates and flights, increase passenger satisfaction and comfortably house all necessary U.S. Customs and Border Patrol services," would also happen in 2018, Abele said. 

The County Executive added the new terminal would be expandable, so the airport can add more international capacity as passenger traffic increases in the future. 

"The nice thing about this design is that it allows us to be flexible, so we don't have to commit to more expenses than we have to if it starts, but we have the capacity to expand, which we don't have right now," Abele said. 

The expansion idea comes as Abele said the airport continues discussions with Foxconn about the company possibly using part of the facility's property. 

The County Executive specifically mentioned the former 440th Airbase at the airport's southwest corner. 

"(Foxconn) is looking at a lot of parts of the property. My understanding is their interest is logistics and inventory management," Abele said. "They've talked about, potentially, an assembly facility." 

"They've asked us what kind of capacity we have, and we've told them we can land the largest planes on the planet here at Mitchell Airport," Abele added. 

Abele said the money for the new terminal will come from revenue bonds and airport funds with no additional costs to taxpayers. 

If the project goes as planned, the county would need to approve an additional $25-million from the same revenue sources to take care of phase two of the construction in 2019. 

The goal is to have the new terminal open in 2020.