Questioning the airport remodel

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The airport terminal master plan was estimated to cost more than $76 million in 2005. I wonder why remodeling our airport should cost more than building our new high school from the ground up. I propose that the remodel is excessive.

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Passenger load at the airport has doubled in the last 20 years. I'm not surprised, since our motel/hotel/bed and breakfast space has dramatically increased in the last 20 years. The population of Juneau has not doubled in 20 years and flights are reduced from October through April. Are local tax payers being asked to pick up the tab for increased tourist traffic?

Eight thousand square feet has been taken from our airport for mandatory security features. I don't remember that the city mandated those features, and the last time I checked I was certain I pay more than enough in federal taxes for expenses demanded by Homeland Security. I think I have already paid for any security expansion that might be done.

I know the airport is crowded during the departure and arrival clusters, but it is then nearly empty for most of the day. Perhaps it would be more practical economically to work with Alaska Airlines to spread out departures and arrivals to reduce congestion spikes. Another option might be to bring in a competing airline to fill the vacant time at the airport and take pressure off the peak spikes.

The $20 million general obligation bond to help fund some Master Plan improvements failed to receive voter approval in 2005 for reasons that I don't think have changed.

In a few years I'll gain some tax exempt status as a senior citizen. I won't be paying for the bulk of airport expansion. If the people who will pay for it want it, then go for it, but I question it.

Mark Miller


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