February 2006 Bay View Compass Editorial
Dear Bay View Compass Readers,
As many of you know through personal experience, Milwaukee County boasts one of the most successful and well-run airports in the country. Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport (GMIA) is both a gem and a major regional economic engine for Wisconsin and specifically our local community. Recently, two of our State Legislators, Representative Jeff Stone and Senator Jeff Plale both drafted legislation, which would take away Milwaukee County's oversight of GMIA. One would think that this legislation is being proposed because Milwaukee County is running the airport poorly; however, the truth is exactly the opposite. General Mitchell International has continued to be one of our favorite success stories in Milwaukee County. In 2005, the airport saw an all-time record of 7,255,190 passengers. It also opened an Amtrak station on its grounds (just the fourth in the nation to do so), introduced Wi-Fi access throughout the airport and unveiled a $6 million, 8,700 square-foot expansion and renovation of its retail and concession mall. It doesn't appear that this system needs fixing and I am sure you will agree that there is a lot more that can be fixed at the state level than our very efficient and economically vibrant General Mitchell Airport.
In addition, this poorly drafted legislation would remove elected representation of the airport from residents of Milwaukee County and place it, instead, in the hands of appointed representatives of an airport authority. This decreases accountability, while creating an additional layer of bureaucracy. Our airport generates such a great deal of revenue from the airlines and passenger fees that very little direct tax levy support is needed in running this public facility.
In conclusion, thinking regionally is a positive thing and I would respectfully ask State Representative Stone and Senator Plale to focus their energy first on helping our struggling Milwaukee County Parks System and Transit System. These quality of life services often suffer due to the lack of funding provided by the state for required programs such as Health and Human Services and our Courts System. If you have additional comments or questions regarding this issue feel free, as always, to contact my office at 278-4232.
Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic
MILWAUKEE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Courthouse Room 201, 901 North 9th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233
PHONE: 414-278-4232 FAX: 414-223-1380
Page last updated 07-19-05