Local Rep. Butler pushes for new airport hubs in Ohio

Rep. Jim Butler announces plans for a bill to create two major airport hubs in Ohio/Ohio House of Representatives

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) — Ohio State Rep. Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) joined with Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) to announce upcoming legislation aimed at creating multiple airport hubs across Ohio.

The bill will outline a plan to build two new large hub airports. One would be in southwest Ohio, near I-71 and U.S. 35. The other would be north of I-80 near Ravenna in northeast Ohio.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Butler and Zeltwanger discussed a plan to create the Major Air Hub Council to oversee the construction of the commercial airports. The bill would also create the Southern Ohio Airport Authority and the Northern Ohio Airport Authority to operate these two hubs.

“Businesses from all over the country, many from Ohio, are moving their headquarters near major hub airports, taking good jobs with them. 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,” Rep. Butler said. “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. It is my hope that the proposed plan in our bill will be given serious consideration over the remainder of our legislative session, and hopefully all stakeholders can come together to get this done for the people of our state.”

Butler says building the airports would create a significant amount of jobs and small business growth.

By locating the airports in southwest and northeast Ohio, the airports could service 4-6 million people living approximately one hour from each terminal.

“I appreciate the opportunity to work on this piece of legislation with Representative Butler,” Rep. Zeltwanger said. “When he proposed the idea to me about a year ago I understood his vision and look forward to seeing this bill move through the process.”

State Representative 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 benefiting my district.  These hubs will embrace Ohio’s heritage as the birthplace of aviation, enabling the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs,” Rep. Dean said. “This bill will positively impact people across the state in all sectors of the economy, attract businesses and families to Ohio, and would likely restore robust airline hubs to southern and northeast Ohio while allowing our current airport infrastructure to thrive.”

The bill was dropped on Wednesday. Once it receives a bill number it will then be referred to a House committee for further discussion.

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