For Immediate Release: September 6, 2017
Contact: Rep. Jim Steineke, (608) 266-2401

Guest Column: Appleton Area Representatives Pleased with Airport Grant

Yesterday, the Joint Committee on Finance adopted a provision we put forward to dedicate $1.7 million toward the Appleton International Airport for the design and construction of an Airport Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) training facility.

The Federal Airport Administration requires that each of the more than 500 airports in the U.S. that serve passenger airplanes send their firefighters to an annual ARFF training. There are 19 sites nationally that can provide this type of training. Upon passage of the state budget, there will be 20. The new site in Appleton will be the only one in the entire Midwest, including both the Great Lakes and Great Plains regions.

The facility in Appleton has more to boast than just geography, however. Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) has a state-of-the-art training center adjacent to the airport that served 20,000 students from 43 states last year alone.  The existing FVTC firefighting curriculum lays a solid foundation upon which ARFF curriculum can be expanded. The partnership with FVTC, the proximity of local businesses directly related to airport fire and rescue, the lodging and hospitality services of the Fox Cities, and the demonstrated need for this type of facility in the Midwest, all spell out a fantastic deal for the state of Wisconsin.

The Appleton area members of the state Assembly are excited to announce this funding in the budget. We all would like to thank in particular Representative Mike Rohrkaste from Neenah, a member of the budget writing committee, for his role in securing the $1.7 million in grants. The construction of this ARFF training facility makes Wisconsin the ideal location for fire and rescue training, and in particular will set the Fox Valley Technical College and the Appleton community apart as national leaders in aviation safety.

Six members of the Wisconsin State Assembly from the Fox Cities region lent their support to the ARFF training proposal. These members are: Rep. Dave Murphy (R-Greenville), Rep. Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah), Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), Rep. Amanda Stuck (D-Appleton), Rep. Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel), and Rep. Ron Tusler (R-Harrison).