Hoeven: International Airport Designation Will Reduce Costs for New Williston Airport

Senator Secured CBP Commitment to Transfer Designation, Funding for Relocation and Construction

WILLISTON, N.D. – During a roundtable with local and state officials in Williston today, Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee, outlined the commitment he secured from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to designate the new Williston airport as an international airport. CBP had initially suggested that the airport become a user fee airport, rather than transfer the designation. This would have resulted in increased costs of more than $161,000 per year to provide for the full salary of a CBP officer, as well as yearly automated data processing costs, and would have impaired the airport’s ability to accommodate existing air traffic.   

At the roundtable, Hoeven also reviewed the progress of the project with officials and outlined his ongoing work to support construction. Through his work on the Senate THUD Subcommittee, Hoeven has included a provision in annual funding legislation in recent years to ensure airports, like Sloulin Field International, can relocate when their current locations do not allow for expansion. Hoeven’s provision has helped to fast-track funding for the project, having secured $88 million of the federal government’s $112 million share of the airport’s $231 million relocation and construction costs.

“The new airport will provide western North Dakota and the Williston community with expanded aviation facilities, which are much needed to meet the area’s growing aviation demands,” Hoeven said. “We secured a commitment from the CBP to designate the airport as an international airport to support its ability to accommodate international air traffic. We are also continuing to work to provide federal support for construction so that the project can be completed on schedule.” 

Earlier this summer, Hoeven led a delegation letter to CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan after the CBP’s Seattle Field Office denied the City of Williston’s request to transfer the international airport designation from the existing Sloulin Field International Airport to the new Williston Basin Airport. The commissioner committed to Hoeven to designate Williston Basin as an international airport and to work closely with the city to ensure the new airport meets the requirements of an international airport.