Pasco port commissioner questions airport terminal expansion

Tri-City HeraldMarch 14, 2013 

— Port of Pasco Commissioner Jim Klindworth on Thursday raised questions about the port's plans for a $36 million expansion project at the Tri-Cities Airport in light of federal budget cuts that could affect activity at Hanford.

Klindworth said he supports the expansion in principal and doesn't want to be a "doctor of doom," but has hesitations because of federal budget uncertainty.

"Between the fact the government won't raise our PFCs (passenger facility charges), Congress won't pass a budget and Hanford is most of our business at the airport, I have some differing thoughts on spending this much money," he said. "I think we have to go ahead, but I'm worried if the worst happens in five years."

Jim Toomey, the port's executive director, recommended the commissioners go ahead and formally vote to start the design and adjust plans later if necessary.

He added that if the Federal Aviation Administration would let airports collect $6.50 per airplane passenger instead of the current $4.50, money for the expansion wouldn't be a problem.

"If we had a $6.50 PFC, it would be a no-brainer. It's not," Toomey said.

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