Originally created 10/12/01

Panel sees draft on airport plan



Financing recommendations from Augusta Regional Airport's 20-year plan would cost at least $122 million over the next 20 years and call for heavy state and federal government contributions up front, consultants said Thursday.

Members of the Augusta Aviation Commission received a draft of the airport's master plan. But before it sends a finished version to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval, the board plans to solicit opinions from the public and city officials.

On Thursday, aviation commissioners saw for the first time detailed information on how to pay for building a new, a midfield terminal and parallel runways.

One suggestion requires $74.4 million from the FAA and the state Legislature.

The consultants said if that level of grant money does not come through, then the airport will have to live with its current terminal for a few more years while it concentrates on building a 9,000-foot runway.

Under the master plan suggestions, the airport also will have to purchase between 700 and 800 acres to build the runway.

"The financial plan will adapt and change as we go through the next stages," said Mike Moroney, an aviation consultant for Black & Veatch Corp.

The Kansas City, Mo.-firm has spent the past year developing the airport's first master plan, which details how an airport should develop.

Airport Director Ken Kraemer said he received the draft a few days ago and would need to review it in more detail before making a recommendation about funding options.

Before the aviation board adopts the plan and sends it to the FAA for approval, the consultants will gather comments and concerns from the aviation commissioners.

They also will present it to the public and the Augusta Commission by the end of the month for more feedback.

Reach Vicky Eckenrode at (706) 823-3227 or vicky.eckenrode@augustachronicle.com.

The Augusta Commission and the public will have an opportunity to examine the airport's master plan and offer feedback before the draft is finalized.