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|City okays agreement with DOTD to use $700K on airport terminal project|
The city of Monroe will get $700,000 from the state Department of Transportation for its ongoing design work of a new Monroe Regional Airport terminal.
Monroe's city council approved the agreement between the city and DOTD Tuesday during its regular meeting.
Mayor Jamie Mayo said a top priority for him remains getting the proposed $30-million airport terminal built by 2010.
"Now, that's predicated on having the funding to be able to do so, which at this point we don't have all the funding that it will take to construct a new airport terminal," Mayo said.
City officials are currently looking at different funding sources to pay for the project. One of those funding sources includes federal earmarks that were approved by Congress for the new Monroe airport terminal. However, those earmarks remain frozen, and city officials are currently working with the state's congressional delegation to have the money appropriated again for the project.
"We've identified at least eight funding sources to pull from, and we'll be exploring those different options to secure those funds to construct this new terminal," Mayo said. "I feel good about securing the funding we need through these different sources."
"The magic number is $30 million, and we need to secure the funding as soon as we can because each year construction cost goes up," Mayo continued. "That figure was $20 million when we first started talking about it around three years ago. And, the escalating construction cost isn't going to stop."
Several local community and state leaders have said establishing a new airport terminal is a top priority for Monroe since the airport is considered the "welcome mat" of the city.
A new airport terminal would assist in the regional economic development efforts, Mayo said, since the appearance of cities and communities plays a role in decisions to move into certain areas.
"It's the first thing people see when they fly in, and the last thing they see when they leave," Mayo said. "It's also an economic development hub … as you look for venues and regions in your city to spur economic development, an airport is one of your main ones."
"You develop around your airport. If you get a new terminal, you have the opportunity to do a lot of different things," Mayo added.