Upgrades begin at RST - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Upgrades begin at RST

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -

Ground has been broken at the Rochester International Airport to mark the beginning of massive improvements to give travelers more reason to fly local. 

"As a cornerstone for a strong economy it is critical that we invest in our existing infrastructure at the airport and it continues to function effectively," said Rochester Mayor, Ardell Brede. "We need this airport to be Rochester International Airport."

The city of Rochester is investing 3.8 million dollars into the airport upgrades, 7.3 million dollars will be coming from federal funding, and nearly a million dollars from MNDOT Aeronautics.

"Not only is U.S. customs coming into the main terminal we're going to be addressing the width of our check point so we hope that the experience of our passengers passing through the check point is faster, better, and quicker," said RST Executive Director, John Reed. "We're going to be adding restrooms which are direly needed on the bottom level of the terminal and then we're going to be consolidating airlines on to one side of the building and baggage claim to the other." 

The upgrades will help better serve the 230,000 passengers from around the world that pass through RST each year. 

RST was at risk of losing it's international designation without this upgrade.

"This is a really important moment for us and it really shows the expansion and growth of an international city, such as ours," said DMC ECA Executive Director, Lisa Clarke. 

The growth expands beyond just the airport building, there will be new flights.

"We're going to welcome United Airlines in the fold here as it relates to airlines," said Reed. "They're going to be bringing us 3 more flights a day and than our other partner, Delta, is going to add another daily flight from Rochester to Atlanta. That's a 50% increase in available flights and available seats into our community and I feel like there's more growth on our horizon." 

Construction work will not affect airlines schedules or airport operations. 

The project is expected to take 12 months to complete. 

Kraus-Anderson will be the contractor. 

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