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|Mayo says FAA supports city's airport terminal project|
Federal Aviation Administration officials assured Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo Tuesday that they will assist the city's efforts to build a new terminal at Monroe Regional Airport.
Mayo invited FAA officials to Monroe to discuss the terminal project.
"They are already aware of our plans to construct a new terminal, but we had a chance to show them where we are at this point," Mayo said. "They expressed to us how pleased they were and how supportive they are of the project."
"We now have the FAA on board, as well as our federal and state delegation, and we believe the community is receptive and supportive of constructing a new terminal, so we're proceeding forward," Mayo continued. "When you look at the major cities in our state, our terminal is the most outdated."
"We're far behind, and we talked about that," Mayo added.
Mayo hopes construction for the $30-million terminal will begin sometime in 2010. He hopes to have it completed by the end of his current term in 2012.
The city most recently was awarded $1 million in federal funding to help replace the 40-year-old terminal. The city hopes to secure at least $7 million in federal funding this year to advance the airport project.
The city also recently called a special election for Nov. 4 for voters to decide on five tax renewals and a new tax for the terminal project.
That tax proposal is a 10-year, 1.00-mill property tax, which would generate $372,317 annually.
The 0.6-mill property tax for the city court building will soon be paid off, meaning taxpayers would see a 0.4-mill increase on what they already pay if the new proposal is approved by voters in November, Mayo said.
If the new tax is approved, Mayo said it would provide another source of funding to help replace the terminal.
"Our task is to keep the momentum going," Mayo said. "The tax that's coming up in November will be critical to show them (FAA) where our people stand."
"We're in a very good position, and we're going to keep the momentum going and keep the new airport terminal in full view of our constituents, and work to get strong support," Mayo explained. "The airport is one of the main gateways to not just Monroe, but the whole region. It's critical that we get a new terminal."
The city will continue to work with the FAA and elected officials to secure adequate funding to build a new terminal, Mayo said. The city, in partnership with the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, has lobbied the federal delegation for funds over the last several years.
Some eight years ago, then-Congressman John Cooksey secured a commitment for more than $30 million in FAA funding to build a new intermodal transportation center to replace Monroe Regional Airport. The appropriation Cooksey secured would have paid the project void of any local funding needed for the endeavor.
FAA officials withdrew their commitment to fund the project when the Monroe City Council balked at adopting Cooksey's proposal to create a regional airport authority governing board to manage the new transportation center. The new board would have replaced the city's airport advisory board.