A new $78 million airport terminal will open in Duluth on Monday after nearly 10 years of planning and construction. More than half the funding came from federal grants, with state and local dollars covering the rest.
The new building replaces a facility built in 1973 that no longer met post-9/11 security requirements.
Former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, who helped secure $42 million in federal stimulus money for the airport, spoke at the dedication on Friday.
"The core significance of this terminal is that it assures the linkage of Duluth with the $1 trillion aviation sector of the nation's economy," Oberstar said.
The new terminal will be a key economic and business asset, said state Sen. Roger Reinert.
"I think we all know folks in the business community who will tell you how important it is that they be able to bring clients here in an easy, quick manner," Reinert said. "Also, as we grow businesses, it's incredibly important that they be able to send their folks out in an easy, quick and efficient manner."
More than 300,000 passengers fly in and out of Duluth every year.
The 110,000-square-foot terminal has 40-foot-tall glass walls and a curved roof designed to resemble Lake Superior's waves. The waiting area can hold more than three times the number of passengers than the old concourse.
The first departure from the terminal is scheduled to be a flight to Chicago at 6 a.m. Monday.
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