Legislation has been introduced to build two major airport hubs in Ohio with one of those hubs to be located at the Interstate 71/U.S. Route 35 intersection in Jeffersonville.
The proposal would place the second hub off Interstate 80 north of Ravenna in northeast Ohio.
State Rep. Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) reportedly told the Dayton Daily News that the two proposed airports would attract the kind of large airline hubs that cities like Atlanta, Boston and Dallas-Fort Worth now have.
Butler and Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) held a press conference Wednesday in Columbus to unveil the legislation they are introducing that aims to create jobs through the development of these hubs. According to the bill sponsors, some CEOs have opted to transfer their businesses to other states because of flight reductions.
Butler said this proposal would conveniently position these airport hubs regionally in southwest and northeast Ohio, servicing 4-6 million people living approximately an hour from each terminal.
The Fayette County commissioners were unaware of the proposed legislation on Wednesday afternoon. After commissioner Dan Dean was contacted by the Record-Herald, he inquired about details and was sent a 31-page bill.
“It calls for the creation of a Southern Ohio Airport Authority,” said Dean. “I’m still unclear about where it’s proposing the airport be at the I-71/U.S. 35 intersection. I will be in touch with the County Commissioners Association to get their opinion of this. One concern I have is I saw no mention of representation from Fayette County with the Port Authority. But they’re at the very beginning of it and it has a long way to go.”
During a press conference in Columbus, Butler said there is flat, dry available land in both Jeffersonville and Ravenna.
“Businesses from all over the country, many from Ohio, are moving their headquarters near major hub airports, taking good jobs with them,” Butler said. “Ohio currently does not have a major hub airport even though we have the population density to support two the size of Dallas/Fort Worth and Boston. This proposal will be a game-changer for Ohio, creating the most modern infrastructure in the country, drawing in thousands of well-paying jobs, and will create a huge surge of economic activity.”
A likely location for the proposed hub in Jeffersonville would be the 1,600-acre mega-site at the U.S. 35 and I-71 interchange. County officials have been working more than 15 years to bring in a significant business to the mega-site. The state of Ohio has certified it as the largest job-ready site in the state.
The centralized location allows for ease of access from all directions and draws available workforce from both rural and metropolitan communities to Fayette County, according to county officials. The shovel-ready site has water, sewer, natural gas, and electricity available and has the ability to extend rail service to the site from an adjacent property.
State Rep. Bill Dean (R-Xenia) attended the press conference as well and supports the measure.
“I am excited to celebrate the proposal of two regional airport hubs, especially one benefitting my district,” said Dean. “These hubs will embrace Ohio’s heritage as the birthplace of aviation, enabling the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.”
Once the bill receives a bill number it will be referred to a House committee for further discussion.