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July 30, 2013

County considers airport expansion

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

About 23.4 percent of the payments would come from the $4.50 passenger fee that is attached to each ticket sold at the airport.

Another 21.1 percent would come from an increase in parking revenue, as parking fees rise from $5 per day for short term and $7 per day for long term to $8 per day for all vehicles next year.

The federal government is expected to kick in about 14.5 percent and the state about 1 percent.

The Clinton County Legislature approved the borrowing of nearly $43 million to help pay for the project earlier this year.

Legislators will mull the options before making a choice later this summer or in the fall.

LEGISLATORS DEBATE

Legislator Harry McManus (D-Area 1, Champlain) said he is concerned that if the terminal is not expanded enough, major carriers will not be interested.

“If we reduce the level of service, it could hurt our chances of recruiting another carrier,” he said.

Legislator John Gallagher (D-Area 9, City of Plattsburgh) said spending the extra money now might be worth it in the long run.

“For about $9 million more, we can get it taken care of,” he said.

Legislator Mark Dame (R-Area 8, City and Town of Plattsburgh) warned legislators that paying for the terminal is not the only cost to consider.

“We have to be concerned about operational costs,” he said.

“If we make it bigger, there is more space to heat and cool and to clean, and that costs money,” he said.

Heins hopes the construction estimates of $350 per square foot for the expansion can be lowered as the plans are given a closer look.

“We’re making this decision for the future, and we don’t want to end up with something that is too big and empty,” he said.

“We also don’t want to make the same mistake twice and be in a position where we have to expand again in a few years. But we don’t want to go too far, either.”

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican

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