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The Southern Suburbs Of Des Moines Were Awarded $1 Million For Airport Expansion

Kevin Foley, the airport’s executive director, says he intends to meet with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds in February and plans to bring a stack of financial resolution agreements from local counties and cities with him.

Des Moines International Airport officials are seeking a $1 million commitment from Warren County and the three largest cities in the county for a new terminal.

At the City Council meeting on Feb. 3, Norwalk officials plan to examine a commitment of $250,000 over five years in a draft resolution.

Norwalk Mayor Tom Phillips said Thursday, “I look at this expansion as a regional issue.” “The airport provides some economic benefits to Norwalk, and our inhabitants like being able to drive to the Des Moines Airport instead of Omaha, Kansas City, or Minneapolis to catch a flight.”

“In general, I’m in favor of assisting with the project.”

Kevin Foley, the airport’s executive director, met with officials from Warren County, Norwalk, Indianola, and Carlisle on Wednesday to discuss the project’s financial needs.

“People keep asking me what Plan B is,” Foley remarked on Thursday. “This is Plan B,” says the narrator. We don’t, however, have a Plan B.”

The new terminal, entrance, parking structure, and other aspects are projected to cost around $575 million in total.

Who else is expected to contribute?

Foley is touring central Iowa, seeking counties and villages within a 90-mile radius of the airport to contribute to the project’s funding.

Twelve local government bodies have committed a total of $27,435,860 to the project as of Thursday:

$576,630 in Altoona
$2,020,650 in Ankeny
Des Moines: $10,000,000 Bondurant: $69,580 Clive: $517,260
$49,610 in Polk City
$1,331,370 in Urbandale
West Des Moines: $2,000,000 Waukee: $722,670
$48,090 in Windsor Heights
$10,000,000 in Polk County
Pleasant Hill is worth $100,000.

Warren County Supervisor Aaron DeKock said Wednesday that his board will consider the proposal during its annual budget planning process in the next week or two.

“I would support allocating some amount of money to the project, but I don’t know what that amount is or should be,” DeKock said on Thursday.

A majority of the City Council, as well as Indianola Mayor Stephanie Erickson, were present at the meeting on Wednesday.

“As mayor, I have no say in whether the city funds the project,” Erickson said on Thursday. “However, we will put it on the agenda in early February to begin our debate.”

Foley gave a list of counties and localities that have been asked to participate in the financing during his presentation. The airport’s financial requests are based on a dollar per capita figure that varies depending on the size of the city, and authorities have requested that the monies be paid over a four-year period, though they believe there is some flexibility on that front.

Communities with populations of over 10,000 people, excluding Des Moines, are being requested to contribute $30 per resident to the initiative. Residents in towns with populations under 10,000 are required to contribute $10 per person.

As a result, the Warren County demands are as follows:

$383,970 in Norwalk
$474,060 in Indianola
$41,620 in Carlisle

If Indianola agrees to the same level of support that Norwalk is considering, and Carlisle agrees to its request of around $40,000, the county would have $460,000 to make up the $1 million in overall support for the area.

What would the money be used to solve?

The issue, according to Foley, is that the airport has run out of space to park planes, and the current terminal is unable to expand. The proposal is to construct a new terminal to the south of the current one and demolish the old one to provide area for parking jets when they are not in use.

According to Foley, the airport is funded through a government trust fund created by excise fees on ticket pricing, aviation fuel, international flights, and other factors directly associated to the business of flying. Lease rates for area allotted to airlines, fees and rent from service providers such as rental car firms operating within the airport, restaurants, and gift shops are among the other revenue streams.

Aside from the federal Airports and Airways Trust Fund, the airport receives no other federal, state, or local tax monies on a regular basis.

Plan A for the expansion was lobbying Congress for an increase in the passenger facility charge, which is currently set at $4.50 per ticket, according to Foley. Those payments aren’t distributed by the federal government; instead, they go directly to the airport in question.

However, after 2000, the rate has remained unchanged. According to Foley, if the rate had kept up with inflation, it would be $8.50 this year. The airport authority would be able to bond against future revenue, which would be enough to fund the new terminal.

“The airlines have been battling the hike,” Foley explained.

According to Foley, the airport, which serves the Midwest’s fastest-growing major metro, aims to get around $25 million in a one-time influx of funds under the infrastructure package signed into law by President Joe Biden in November. It’s also eligible to apply for a competitive grant from a pool of $1 billion set aside by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of the measure, according to Foley.

On the condition that central Iowa communities and counties join in, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ administration has promised financial assistance, possibly using American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Foley is looking for $34 million in funding from local governments.

He plans to meet with the governor in February and hopes to have a stack of financial resolution agreements in hand from regional counties and villages.

“If we don’t develop this terminal and extend the airport, we will become a liability to the entire state of Iowa, rather than an economic tool that strengthens and supports our economy,” Foley said.

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