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"Indy airport wants long-term plan from Congress"
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Indy airport wants long-term plan from Congress
By Eric Halvorson
WISH-TV Ch 8 (CBS), Indianapolis (IN)
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Funding problems at the Federal Aviation
Administration aren't over. They're just delayed until after Congress ends
its latest vacation. The temporary funding extension approved in Washington
ended a partial shutdown of the agency and put 4,000 employees back to work.
Planners at Indianapolis International Airport appreciate the extension, as
far as it goes. But, Marsha Stone, the chief financial officer of the
Indianapolis Airport Authority says the short-term plan makes it difficult
for people in her department. She says her team prefers to think long-term -
say five or 10 years out. She says they can't do that without some
confidence in the availability of federal funds for projects around the
airport property. Stone says they need a measure of certainty in funding,
"just to know what will or will not be there so that we can put alternative
plans in place."
Indianapolis International - and the five smaller surrounding airports, the
"reliever" airports - have projects that could be addressed by federal
funds. A lot of the anticipated work would not be noticed by the average
traveler walking through the terminal. Stone says most of the work would be
on what they call the "air side," outside the terminal.
"Air side projects are typically the higher priority projects for funding,"
she says. "And, they're generally not in terminals. Areas that produce
revenue are generally not eligible for federal funding."
Stone also would like to see Congress end the short-term thinking that has
produced a series of funding extensions.
"It's very frustrating," she says. "We put a lot of effort into developing
long-term plans. Airports are infrastructure assets that take a long-term
view. So we have five and 10 year plans into the future. We even have a 30
year development plan that was just approved by our board earlier this
Stone hopes Congress will give the funding issue more attention after it
returns from the August break. It has to - since the extension provides
funding only into the middle of September.
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