August 11, 2016 – REDI President Stacey Button spoke this week to Mid-MO RPC’s Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) about future plans for the development of the Columbia Regional Airport.
The Columbia Regional Airport is currently faced with several challenges including passenger capacity, safety and security issues and ADA compliance.
Passenger enplanements are up substantially over the last few years with enplanements at the airport increasing from a low of 9,090 in 2007 to 64,341 in 2015. American Airlines currently offers daily flights to Dallas and Chicago; however, the current terminal is operating at capacity. Before flights can be expanded to new cities a new terminal will be needed in order to accommodate additional aircraft and passengers.
The Columbia Regional Airport is currently faced with several challenges including passenger capacity, safety and security issues and ADA compliance.August 11, 2016 – REDI President Stacey Button spoke this week to Mid-MO RPC’s Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) about future plans for the development of the Columbia Regional Airport.The layout of the current airport facility contributes to safety and security concerns. The current layout places commercial passenger aviation directly alongside general aviation. Federal security protocol calls for these two functions to be separated from one another.
The current airport terminal also has serious ADA compliance issues. Ramps at the airport are not wide enough to accommodate all wheelchairs which presents serious challenges for passengers with disabilities when they are trying to board flights. The bathrooms and parking at the airport also present challenges to individuals with disabilities.
The current development plan would remedy these issues by building a new terminal, extending existing runways and expanding parking for passengers. The new terminal would be fully ADA compliant and separate commercial aviation from general aviation which would improve airport safety and security. The new terminal, runways and parking would also accommodate additional flights to an expanded roster of cities.
The total project cost is approximately $38 million. The primary funding sources for this project include a $20 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a temporary 1% lodging tax increase. The lodging tax increase was passed by voters last week and includes a sunset provision that will cap the tax at $10 million. Projections suggest that this $10 million cap will be reached in approximately 16-17 years. Additional funding sources are also being explored, but have not been committed at this time.