ROCK SPRINGS — Rock Springs City Council approved a funding request of $133,333 as part of a $400,000 local match needed in order to obtain $11.6 million in supplemental funding for the Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport Commercial Terminal Modernization Project.
The total cost for the project is expected to be in the $18 million range when all is said and done. Airport Director, Devon Brubaker, noted in a presentation to the council on Tuesday night that two pathways existed when it came to funding the project: funding with supplemental money or without.
Brubaker updated the council regarding the status of the project to date. Last year the airport partnered with WYDOT in a two-phase process. The first phase that the airport underwent was a terminal area plan which involved a study of the terminal area and the projected developments that could occur in the next 30 years. This detailed projections for possible roadways, hangars, sewer lines, etc.
The second phase that followed was a terminal feasibility study which ultimately was an evaluation if there was a need for a new terminal based on FAA standards and other criteria. According to Brubaker, the study confirmed that the terminal was undersized by nearly 50-percent.
In March of 2018, Congress appropriated $1 billion to be given to airports around the country for projects. With more than 2,700 projects submitted by 1,500 airports seeking funding, a small number of projects were awarded the money and Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport was not given any supplemental funding.
However, Congress has appropriated an additional $500 million that will be announced in coming weeks. In addition, it is expected that another $500 million will be approved. Over the next three years, there is an additional $3 billion that has been authorized. Brubaker mentioned that it is expected that $500 million will be appropriated each year in funding.
“What it boils down to is there’s still discretionary money out there and there is still money out there for our project,” Brubaker said.
Minimizing Local Funding
Recently Brubaker received a request from the FAA and WYDOT seeking a committed amount of local funding to match federal funds and how quickly those funds could become available.
“While that survey looked informal, it carries a lot of weight with the Feds and the State in determining whether or not they will call us for a project,” Brubaker said.
With the City’s approval of the request for $133,333, the airport will now attempt to pursue the following plan for funding:
- $11.6 million from FAA
- $3 million from WYDOT
- $3 million from Wyoming Business Council
- $400,000 from local entities
It should be noted that the City’s decision to approve the funding now eliminates the other pathway that does not include supplemental funding which would result in $5 million needed in local money for the $18 million project.
The backing of local funding will push the airport’s project further along the path of supplemental funding. The City will not have to disperse any funds towards the project until all other funding is obtained.
“Our goal is to try and minimize the local match as much as possible,” Burbaker said.