Texarkana Regional Airport Authority board took the first crucial step Thursday in landing a new, 30,000-square-foot passenger terminal.
Board members approved sending a $719,720 terminal design grant application to the Federal Aviation Administration for final review and approval. Specifically, the FAA will pick up 90 percent of the cost to design the terminal, while the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics will absorb the remaining 10 percent.
Airport Director Mark Mellinger told board members that the design grant money should be available this summer, which will jump-start engineering drafting. Construction would be funded with grants and other monies.
Beyond federal money, Mellinger told board members that the terminal project could receive potential support from state-generated economic development grant funds.
Mellinger added that he recently received information from the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce that listed local and area businesses and industries that might be in favor of a new terminal. He intends to ask those businesses and industries for letters of support to help secure state development grants.
In other business, board members asked Mellinger to negotiate a proposed cost to install an automated airport parking fee system from $89,000 to $75,000. Parking Boxx plans to install an airport parking lot entry ticket dispensing box and two posts where airport patrons can pay for parking.
Airport Manager Russell Henderson told the board that with the parking system, the airport could recover as much as 30 percent of revenue it loses yearly from patrons who neglect to pay for parking.
After additional discussion, board members approved the system, but only if Mellinger can negotiate the price to $75,000.
Henderson said if a price settlement can be reached, the company might be able to start work on installing the system within a weeks and have it complete in a few months.