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TEXARKANA, Ark. — With an operations and maintenance budget that's slightly more than this year's $1.2 million price tag, Texarkana Regional Airport Authority Board members tentatively approved a $1,342,283 budget for Calendar Year 2021 at Thursday's meeting.

Next year's budget projects an overall budget shortfall of about $248,000 and to make for it, airport officials will be asking both Texarkanas if they can make up the difference. Texarkana, Texas will be asked for about $136,000 while the request from Texarkana, Arkansas, hovers at about $112,000. Those figures are based on each cities' population.

Texas side will be considering its portion of the projected shortfall first, since it operates on a fiscal year budget. The Arkansas side will consider its portion a little later in the year, since its on a calendar year budget cycle.

Airport Executive Director Paul Mehrlich said next year's final airport budget may have to undergo some slight alterations, depending on whether both cities will be able each fill in their share.

If not, Mehrlich added that some of CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funds, which the airport received earlier this year, could be used to make up the difference.

Regarding the airport's award of a $3.6 million in federal grant funds for the construction of a new passenger terminal, Mehrlich said the funds will help pay for the first phase of the 40,000-square-foot building's construction. This first phase would include the building's foundation as well as it ground utilities such as heating, air, electricity and water.

Mehrlich added the building itself, which will include two jet bridges, will cost about $16 million. The overall project, which will include finished taxiways and apron, will cost an estimated $34 million

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