By Kristi Pihl, June 12, 2014, Tri-City Herald
Port of Pasco commissioners could approve selling no more than $30 million in bonds in two weeks to help pay for a remodel of the Tri-Cities Airport terminal.
The exact amount won’t be determined until after the bids on subcontracts for the project to double the size of the terminal are received later this month, port commissioners were told Thursday.
Construction on the $43.7 million terminal remodel project is expected to start sometime around Aug. 1.
The bond sale is expected to occur July 9, after Bouten Construction Co., the port’s general contractor/construction manager for the project, will have the bids for the project and alternates so the final bond amount can be identified, said Randy Hayden, the port’s executive director.
However, the vote commissioners are expected to take in two weeks will allow the bond sale to occur without any more action by the port commission, he said.
Port officials hope the subcontract bids will come in low enough that the port will be able to add back in portions of the terminal remodel that were shaved during the planning process to cut costs.
Adding space to Gate 5 on the new concourse, renovating the second-floor restrooms and second-floor corridor, adding new inbound baggage equipment and short-term parking lot work are among the alternates that companies were asked to bid on.
Port officials plan to use passenger facility charges from airline tickets and other airport revenue to pay the bond debt.
The port also received a $6 million federal grant earlier this year to help pay for the security enhancements that are part of the project. That includes moving the staircase, elevator and restrooms to the front of the terminal building to open up the area near the security checkpoint. That area can become a bottleneck when a number of flights depart around the same time.
The remodel also includes expanding the ticketing and baggage areas and building a new concourse beyond the security area that will feature a view of the airfield, with gates to the right and left.
The port commission also approved raising the maximum daily parking rates by $1 each, moving the long-term rate to $10 a day and short-term parking to $13 per day starting Jan. 1, 2017, when officials expect the terminal expansion and modernization project to be complete. That provides an additional cushion for the port when it comes to paying off the bond.