Increased parking and rental car fees at Tri-Cities Airport could help to pay for a $20 million bond to expand the Pasco facility.
Linda O'Brien, the Port of Pasco's director of finance and administration, told port commissioners Thursday that $1 million in additional revenue will be generated each year from parking and rental car fees.
O'Brien said the port expects to receive an additional $400,000 a year from parking lot revenue. The rates were increased July 1.
The rental car operators' new lease begins Nov. 1, which will result in about $1.5 million each year for the port, instead of about $750,000, said Lynn Leibowitz of airport management consultants Leibowitz & Horton.
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The companies were paying 10 percent of their gross to the port, she said. They are also paying $2 a day per space for the area where cars are picked up and dropped off, terminal rent and a $3 customer facility charge.
The customer facility charge kicks in Oct. 1, and is expected to bring in about $450,000 a year, Leibowitz said.
O'Brien also projects the port will collect about $1.1 million in passenger facility charges on airline tickets, although this year it actually is collecting $1.3 million.
That means the potential revenue from both sources for debt service is almost $2.2 million, she said. That potentially could pay for a $20 million bond.
The port also will be looking at state and federal grants to pay for the expansion.
The port knows expanding the ticketing queue area and security checkpoints is necessary. Officials also are looking at other improvements to meet future needs.
An exact design has not been determined. Commissioners looked at a number of options for the secured and unsecured area of the terminal.
The concepts for design include moving most of the concessions, including the restaurant, into the secured area where passengers wait for incoming flights.
Matt Dubbe, market leader for consultant Mead & Hunt, said he would suggest the port open up the floor near security by moving the staircase and the restrooms to the street side of the terminal building.
Security could be expanded to allow three lanes which could be moved to four, if needed, he said. The ticketing area also would be expanded, but without adding any ticket counters.
Dubbe also suggested moving the wall of the terminal so that three drop-off lanes can be used. As airport use grows, that can become more of a pinch point, said Tim Dacey, project manager for Mead & Hunt.
The terminal already is about 11 percent too small, Dacey said. In 20 years, the square footage likely will need to double.
Airport use has grown by 100,000 passengers in six years.
Design options also include from five to seven gates for aircraft, with at least twice the seating in the secured area as currently exists.
The airport now has 240 seats in the boarding area, said Ron Foraker, Tri-Cities Airport manager.
Commission Chairman Jim Klindworth said they want to make sure that the expansion will serve the community for more than 20 years.
Getting rid of the congestion at the ticket counter and security is a priority, said Commissioner Jean Ryckman. The congestion needs to be solved not just for now, but also for the future.
"I would like for it to be a great entry into the Tri-Cities," she said.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org