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Austin Straubel Airport looks to land new federal inspection station


GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Austin Straubel International Airport is looking to build a U.S. Customs Federal Inspection Station so that a local tour provider or airline can start offering international flights. 

The facility would cost around $7.5 million, something Airport Director Tom Miller says is the least of their worries. Miller says they the funds would come from the FAA’s Airport Improvement program. 

Last week the FAA confirmed construction funds are available. The biggest hurdle is getting three or four more U.S. Customs agents at the airport to man the facility. 

However, the agency needed a commitment from an airline or tour provider. Miller says they’ve received that. 

An unknown tour provider or local airline wants to start providing direct flights to Mexico by 2015. 

Miller is envisioning part-time agents, similar to a program in Lansing, Michigan. Miller says the local airport there saw the number of overall flights increase by 33% in the first year. 

Miller says the customs facility could be a catalyst to the expansion of the airport market and the number of passengers that would utilize the facility. 

County officials estimate the FIS could have an additional economic impact of $2.5 million annually, on top of the $111 million of the airport.  The FIS could also lead to the creation of 46 more jobs for local airlines and tourism industries.

More than 1,300 sigatures in a letter of support were handed over to Congressman Reid Ribble Friday, who says he will begin talks with U.S. Customs Agency to committ extra agents for the FIS.