TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – Work is underway on a new airport in Texarkana, and with the progress comes additional costs.
Friday morning, airport finance committee members learned the new facility is coming at a cost of an extra $1.9 million. The total project cost is now about $38.5 million.
Texarkana Regional Airport Director Paul Mehrlich said there are several pieces of the terminal the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) won’t fund, such as anything that will generate revenue.
“As we’re getting to those phases of building a building out, we’re getting those costs together, and having to work with each of these different groups like American Airlines to determine what portion of it they’re willing to pay in, and what portion is going to fall onto the airport,” he said.
However, Mehrlich said the airport will use stimulus funds to cover the costs, and they’ll negotiate down as much as they can.
“It just means that instead of having excess revenue that we’re going to be able to place on … like pet projects … it’s all just going to the terminal building. But, from the onset, that has been the priority, is making sure that despite the pandemic, that this building came in on time,” he said.
Ground was broken on the new facility last month, and it’s expected to be complete in 2024.
Mehrlich said the high cost of lumber and steel have also increased costs by another $500,000. But, he said the FAA has agreed to pay for 90 percent of that price tag. “We went back to the FAA and they have agreed to give us a grant for that additional amount.”
At a full airport board meeting later this month, members are expected to decide how much to request from the cities of Texarkana, Ark. and Texarkana, Texas in the upcoming fiscal year. Mehrlich said $216,000 will likely be requested from Texarkana, Ark., and $261,000 will likely be requested from Texarkana, Texas, upon board approval.
“The airport had lost a lot of revenue related to parking and to rental cars … that was our predominant source of revenue prior to the pandemic. And so, with that lost revenue and then … also making sure the airport is in proper repair … those two things together have required us to ask for a larger amount for a match than we did in previous years.”
Mehrlich added that the airport has already started to create a plan of how the airport can create new revenue to become self-sustaining.
“We do everything we can to make sure that when we finish the building, we have additional funds to do other things because we want to use those funds to develop areas to bring in new leases because that becomes then, it’s a return on investment. We put money in, but we’re going to get that back.”