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|A new terminal will help|
Officials in Monroe broke ground last week on the construction of a new $35-million terminal at Monroe Regional Airport.
Built many years ago, the terminal the airport currently uses to service passengers from throughout the region has seen its better days. That's putting it mildly.
Last year, voters in Monroe approved a property tax to help pay for the new terminal project. The Federal Aviation Administration contributed $5 million toward the cause, too.
Meanwhile, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo is not shy about reminding anyone who will listen that the terminal project received some $10 million in federal funding thanks to an economic stimulus package the Congress approved earlier this year. Mayo credits President Obama for the stimulus funding, though we would be remiss if we did not remind the mayor that the president of the United States does not appropriate money. That's Congress' responsibility.
It is difficult to locate anyone who would suggest Monroe Regional is not in dire need of a new terminal. However, officials at Monroe Regional must continue to work on delivering lower air fares for airport customers. Remember, Monroe Regional's reputation for offering fairly expensive airline tickets plays a significant role in the airport's inability to increase boardings, or grow its business.
While a new terminal at Monroe Regional certainly will improve the city's image in the eyes of passengers traveling to and from Monroe, all of the hard work that was extended in generating the revenues to pay for the terminal project will be for naught if Monroe Regional does not evolve into a viable, economical option for air travelers to utilize.