We tend to make a lot these days of the ways that electronic commuting has changed the way that people do business. But that doesn’t mean that actual transportation isn’t still much more important than the virtual kind.

That’s why businesses looking to move or expand want sites near highways and airports, so they can get people and products to the places that they need to be easily and affordably.

And that’s why the expansion of the Portland International Jetport is such good news for the region and for Maine.

Officials broke ground on the project, which will nearly double the size of the facility, adding more capacity for screening passengers and baggage.

It will also add gates to the terminal, creating more opportunities for airlines to serve the region and create more competitive pressure on fares. Lower prices and more flights to choose from will be a selling point in attracting economic development and business expansion in southern Maine.

It could also boost tourism by giving visitors more options to consider when visiting the state.

Best of all, expansion of the city-owned facility will be funded through a federal grant and a $4.50 fee collected on every ticket sold. That fee is already in place and has been used to pay off debt that is now retired.

The recession delayed this project, but it is coming together in time to help boost a recovery. Southern Maine will welcome the 90 to 100 jobs that will be added to the economy over the next two years while the expansion is built.

But the long-term effect of having a bigger and busier jetport is something that we should feel the benefit of for much longer.


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