With little money or idea what the future holds, the Juneau Airport Board Terminal Enhancement Committee decided Thursday to take a first step in addressing the airport's most pressing needs.
The modest plans may be the only route for a committee searching for some difficult answers after voters declined to fund a previous plan. The committee is recommending the Airport Board direct its staff to explore the possibility of hiring a contractor to inspect and repair the 1984 building's roof.
At its meeting Thursday it also recommended initiating a design plan for exterior canopy renovation. The work would be completed with a $1.26 million Federal Aviation Administration grant, which requires $60,000 of matching funds.
"We want to move forward and tackle our most critical needs with what we have," Airport Manager Allan Heese said. "We will start lobbying for additional money soon."
The committee did not give up its vision of completing a terminal overhaul and parking structure. But there is little money available and an uncertainty to future funding. In October, Juneau voters rejected using an optional 1 percent sales tax to expand the airport.
Committee members hope they can procure $20 million from the state Legislature to help construct the terminal. They also hope to secure another $20 million from the federal government to help finance access roads and a parking structure.
"We need to get more organized to get the state Legislature on projects," District 1 Assembly Member Merrill Sanford said. "We are behind on the wish list (of what we need)."
The committee is going to form a lobbying strategy Thursday. There's also the possibility of seeking another sales-tax measure in about three years, which is the next opportunity for a project to be funded by a temporary 1 percent sales tax.
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