Port of Pasco to increase daily parking rates at airport

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldMay 12, 2014 

The daily parking rates at the Tri-Cities Airport will increase by $1.

But the increase doesn't start for short-term and long-term parking until Jan. 1 , 2016, when Port of Pasco officials expect to have the $43.7 million terminal remodeling finished.

Port of Pasco commissioners unanimously approved the $1 increase to the daily maximum to create a reserve account for the project, which will double the size of the Tri-Cities Airport terminal.

Construction should start Aug. 1.

Officials believe that the port will have enough airport-related revenue to pay the full cost of the renovation, but wanted to create a cushion just in case.

Long-term parking is $9 a day and short-term parking is $12 per day. Raising the long-term rate to $10 a day would bring in enough for the cushion, but officials said short-term parking still needs to be increased to $13 per day to maintain the price gap.

Hourly rates will not change.

The project includes moving the terminal's staircase and restrooms to the front of the building to open up the area near the security checkpoint.

Security, ticketing and baggage areas also would be expanded. A new concourse beyond the security area will feature a view of the airfield, with gates to the right and left.

Port officials plan to use a 20-year bond to pay for the renovation, said Randy Hayden, the port's executive director. The bonds are expected to raise about $26 million, with an annual debt payment of about $2.2 million.

Going with a 20-year bond is projected to cost about $200,000 more in debt payments each year than if the port did a 30-year bond, Hayden said. That amount is what the parking increase is expected to bring in during a single year.

Port officials had debated going with a 30-year bond, but decided against the longer window. Hayden said the port will experience significant savings when it comes to interest with a shorter bond period.

The port also has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to use 20 years of collections of passenger facility charges on airline tickets to repay the bond, Hayden said.

It would have been confusing to explain why the bond term was longer than the main source of revenue. Port officials plan to pay the annual bond debt using $1.1 million from the passenger facility charges and other airport revenue.

Commissioners will need to approve selling the bonds, likely in early July, Hayden said.

First, Bouten Construction Co., the port's general contractor/construction manager for the project, needs to receive back the bids for subcontracts so port officials can see if there are any cost savings that will allow features of the project to be added back in. Bids are due in June.

-- To submit business news, go to bit.ly/bizformtch.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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