Runway overlay part of 2009 airport budget

The Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority on Tuesday adopted a budget officials predict will be better than in years past, with an increased number of airlines, new rental car company bids and an increase in parking revenues.

The budget for 2009 shakes out to operating expenditures of $3.9 million and capital of $13 million, a total budget of about $17 million, officials said. The airport stands to profit twice what it did in 2008, with about $800,000 projected.

“We took a pretty conservative approach because of what’s going on in the economy, not just here, but nationwide,” said Rex Tippetts, general manager for the airport. “We didn’t plan anything big. We’re just going to continue on our current plan. Some of the construction later on, we’re going to do design and planning on, but we’re not actually putting a lot out to bid.”

Plans down the road, past 2009, include selecting an architect for a new rental car facility and taking a closer look at plans for getting a new tower, Tippetts said.

One of the two largest projects that are priorities in the coming year is the overlay of the main runway.

The process of redoing the runway is usually done every 10 years. The current runway is 12 years old.

That project is projected to cost $5.8 million.

The airport will also rebuild the rental car parking lots, which are 25 years old and do not have curb and gutter systems. That project weighs in at $3 million, Tippetts said.

Elam Construction will do the overlay of the main runway. The rental car parking lot project has not been bid yet.

Earlier this year, the airport awarded car rental bid contracts to Advantage, Hertz, Avis, Budget, National and Alamo, Tippetts said. American and Frontier airlines have increased passenger traffic dramatically at the airport, according to passenger statistics tracked throughout 2008. While parking fees have not increased, the increase in passenger traffic from the additional airlines has parking revenues poised to be up at least $200,000 above this year. 


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