City Council devotes more funds to airport terminal improvements

Funds from six accounts will transfer nearly $1.2 million to fund terminal improvements.

The Columbia City Council approved an intradepartmental fund at Monday night's meeting to dedicate more money for terminal improvements at Columbia Regional Airport.

Funds from six accounts will transfer nearly $1.2 million to fund terminal improvements. The accounts used were those of canceled or delayed projects. One such account was the account for the airport's main runway expansion, a project that has been "pushed out" to Fiscal Year 2016. Another was the account for the airport's crosswind runway expansion, which has been extended to fiscal year 2018, according to the report.

City officials hope to receive a 90-10 funding match from the Federal Aviation Administration. While FAA funding for runway expansion is common, funding for terminal improvements are trickier and all depend on what FAA officials decide, Columbia Public Works spokesman Steven Sapp said.

The more than 40-year-old airport terminal is outdated and does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, Sapp said.

The council awarded $38,407 to Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., a consulting firm, to come up with conceptual drawings and cost estimates of improvements, which are due back by the end of April.

The firm will create a three-dimensional model of its proposed plan, which will attempt to address concerns for the airport as well as account for the growth in commercial flights, according to a March 28 Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. news release.

"It is anticipated that the new terminal will be located on the north end of the airport, with up to eight passenger boarding gates, concessions, a restaurant and the airport's Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting center," a news release stated. "The project will include regional art, showcasing the area's rich historic and diverse natural attributes."

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