Today's Question: Is the airport worth expanding?

Friday, August 7, 2009 | 1:13 p.m. CDT; updated 4:24 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 20, 2009

As part of Columbia Regional Airport's master plan to improve the infrastructure and design of the airport,  Airport Manager Kathy Frerking has said that 95 percent of the cost could be covered by the Federal Aviation Administration, easing the estimated $40 million that will be needed to complete the plan.

Some people living around the airport are still waiting for specific details that were not addressed in the master plan. The project also calls for the acquisition of 50 acres of land belonging to the heirs of Sally Phillips Trust, which consists of Phillips' four daughters. 

Aside from this specific property, however, other properties might be impacted if roads need to be diverged. For instance, one neighbor, Jim Starr, said that he had intentions of making improvements on his own farm's property. However, if the roads need to be expanded to accommodate newer airport facilities, he would need to know in order to plan ahead. 

The plan won't come before the City Council until a public hearing at the Sept. 21 meeting.

Several airline carriers have dropped service in Columbia since 2006, and the most recent numbers show that the number of "deplanements" and "enplanements" are more than half of what they were in 2000. Still, with the arrival of Mesaba in August 2008, Columbia is slowly climbing on upward trend in activity from the most recent years.

Considering the cost and relative proximity to two airports, does it makes sense to expand Columbia's airport?

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Charles Dudley Jr August 7, 2009 | 6:36 p.m.

There is really no industry out that way that demands it's expansion. You need to have a guarantee of commercial shipping industry before you begin to expand. The old build it and they will come crap is old now.

There are two MAJOR AIRPORTS with in reach of Columbia now that already have these kinds of terminals.

Just another huge Pork Barrel Project IMHO.

(Report Comment)
Greg Collins August 7, 2009 | 9:18 p.m.

Expand it to what end? It's hardly being used to capacity now. There are no local industries with freight or civil aviation demands that would warrant it.

So what's the point of trying to make something so little used even bigger and less used unless it's to create make work jobs, and put a feather in the cap of the public works department in Columbia?

(Report Comment)

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