A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Candace McGraw: CVG making great progress, but millions needed to keep our airport competitive

When you fly out of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), the need for increased investment may not be your first thought. During the holiday season, you may have traveled through CVG and seen our terminal upgrades underway, but millions of dollars are still needed to keep our hometown airport competitive in the 21st century.

Last year at CVG, local passenger traffic was up 20 percent, and our cargo volumes have grown by 110 percent over the last seven years, thanks to DHL’s recent $108 million expansion and the launch of Amazon’s global air cargo hub.

While the airport supports over 31,100 direct and indirect jobs and studies show that CVG has a $4.4 billion economic impact on the Tri-State, we still face aging facilities and necessary infrastructure investments like airports across the country. But as we have come to learn over the last few years, when the airport wins, our community wins.

Knowing what lies ahead of us, I am enthusiastic that the U.S. Senate has produced a transportation funding proposal that puts action behind creating vibrant airports in our nation. With bipartisan support, the FY2018 transportation appropriations bill, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has helped to advance, will create sustainable funding for CVG and other U.S. airports to enhance our facilities and improve the passenger experience.

Nationwide, airports have more than $100 billion in improvements to make in the next five years. At CVG, we are working to build a $150 million consolidated rental car facility by 2021.

This is needed to streamline passenger movements in and out of the airport, as well as to improve air quality. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Rob Portman to preserve private activity bonds as a method of financing such projects, we are poised for continued success.

So many political issues confront us, and many needs compete for scarce resources. I am glad to see that our leaders in Washington, including Senators McConnell and Portman, are working to modernize our nation’s aviation infrastructure. Their efforts will ensure we have the ability to generate more local revenue to provide for investments in runways, taxiways, terminals, and other projects.

CVG’s successes in the past few years and in the future belong to our region. Whether it’s new or existing carriers adding routes, cargo activities ramping up, or creating new jobs by developing airport land, continued investments at CVG will lead directly to success beyond our gates. The traveling public here and across the United States deserve shorter security lines, more airline competition, lower airfares, and 21st century facilities. I appreciate our leaders working to make it happen.

Candace McGraw is the CEO of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. She also serves as chair of the Board of Directors of Airports Council International-North America, a trade organization representing airport owners and operators that enplane more than 95 percent of domestic passenger and cargo traffic in the U.S. and Canada.

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One Comment

  1. John Lange says:

    Can’t build a bridge …
    Can build a $135 million car rental facility.

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