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Project Propel will take South Bend region to new heights

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --The South Bend-Elkhart regional area could see an extra $100 million in their pocket annually.

Officials have just announced the new plan for Project Propel Wednesday morning, and it could take the entire area to new heights.

"What we need is better air access. We can't wait for someone else to do it, we have to lead the market," says Chris Murphy, the CEO of First Source Bank.

He believes this plan could do amazing things for Michiana.

"We're bringing businesses together who use the airport, and make a commitment to use the South Bend airport, as opposed to going to Chicago, Grand Rapids, or Indianapolis," adds Murphy.

He says that the more people fly out of South Bend, the more flights that will be added. More flights mean more money that'll pour right into the area. 

"When we're working with companies who are here, and who want to keep here, or they're looking for a location across the location and asking how they're going to get to and from headquarters," explains Regina Emberton. "If we can't offer those convenient flights, they're going to look at other options.

Emberton is the President of the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership.

She says, people don't realize how much cheaper it is overall to fly out of South Bend. 

"Right now, over 40% of the flying travelers are coming out of the South Bend International Airport. 60% of them drive to somewhere like Chicago to fly out," she says. "It's more economical when you factor in your time, parking, and the drive costs to getting there."

It's not only a saving, but an investment.

Cities like Grand Rapids, Chattanooga, and Rochester, MN, have done similar projects, and saw about $100 million in their pockets in just one year.

South Bend could soon join that growing list. 

"This is the most exciting time in the 40 years I've been in this region. We've got new businesses starting, we've got old businesses growing," lists Murphy. "We want to attract more businesses here and we want to attract more people here. We can do that with better air access." 

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