Oshkosh has earned a world-renowned reputation as the undisputed Aviation Capital of the World. We see this every day and experience it in a big way once a year during the EAA AirVenture when people from all over the world journey to Oshkosh. But, how often have you heard someone say, “The airport’s a drain on the taxpayers and doesn’t pay its way”? The reality is that airports are assets of considerable economic value and Wittman Regional Airport is no exception. However, this fact is not widely understood. The airport contributes jobs, services and taxes.
Wittman Regional Airport represents an enormous economic asset and opportunity to Oshkosh and Winnebago County. It is the centerpiece of an area that can be developed into a major job-generator and tax-revenue producer.
The economic impact of an airport is a measure of the benefits it provides to the community. These benefits include the jobs, wages, and expenditures that take place at the airport. They also include the effects of these expenditures in moving from hand-to-hand through the community, enhancing economic activity far from the airport itself.
Economic impact as a whole comprises direct and indirect impacts. Direct impact is associated with businesses and providers of services at the airport. The value of direct impact is the sum of all payroll, non-payroll and capital expenditures, operating and maintenance costs, taxes, and fees incurred by every business and provider of services. A recent study, commissioned by Wittman Regional Airport and the Winnebago County Aviation Committee and conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Extension, indicated that there was over $28.5 million of direct economic impact at Wittman Regional Airport in 2012.
The analysis showed that the airport was responsible for 548 jobs, $23.6 million in payroll, $750,040 in tax revenue, and $1.48 million in lease payment. Strictly speaking, these direct impacts represent economic activities that would not occur in the absence of the airport.