YVRA seeks expansion funds

TSA says security devices have reduced lobby space

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Routt County is still waiting to hear whether funding is available for an expansion project at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

The installation of explosive-trace devices in the Hayden airport's terminal reduced lobby space by two-thirds last Decem-ber.

YVRA Director Jim Parker requested funding from the Transportation Security Admini-stration in a letter Jan. 29 to TSA Federal Security Director Ray Krebs.

He asked the TSA to help shoulder the financial burden of expanding the ticket lobby to restore space now occupied by the ETD machines.

"We believe that some of those funds should be used to correct the negative impact caused to our terminal due to the TSA's operations," Parker wrote.

About $238 million of TSA funds are slated for improvements related to airport security.

Parker estimates the expansion will cost about $800,000. The TSA has not yet said what, if any, of the project costs it will cover.

An answer might come in the next few weeks, Parker said.

"We're still hoping," Parker said.

If TSA funding doesn't pan out, the airport may have to dip into federal Airport Improvement Program funds. The program, which provides funding for airport planning and development projects, granted YVRA up to $1.3 million in 2003.

The county will move forward with the project regardless of where the money comes from, Parker said.

The Routt County Board of County Commissioners selected the Ross Partnership, P.C., of Aspen last month to design the 4,000- to 5,000-square-foot ex-pansion.

Parker will discuss officially hiring the architectural firm with the board at 10 a.m. Monday.

The project probably will furnish more space than what airport security improvements took, he said.

Parker expects construction will begin in August and end in December, in time to accommodate winter visitors.

A Dec. 1 finish date is necessary for the airport to avoid putting up a heated tent in front of the terminal to hold passengers.

The county had to install a heated tent to counter the loss of lobby space last December.

The ticket lobby could hold only 20 passengers when the ETD machines moved in, so remaining passengers waited in the tent before moving to the terminal for check-in and baggage screening.

The county paid $46,500 to rent the main tent in front of the terminal and for a second smaller tent from mid-December to March. The county also paid about $1,000 a week to heat the tents.

The county would rather invest in more long-term solutions for the crowded terminal and not just Band-Aid fixes, Parker said.

-- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203

or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com

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