Gary airport wants more FAA funds for runway expansion
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent October 9, 2012 4:02PM
Updated: October 11, 2012 10:14PM
GARY — More federal funds to defray runway expansion costs are being considered for Gary/Chicago International Airport.
Airport consultant John Clark said he reapproached the Federal Aviation Administration a month ago to help close a $30 million gap in project costs. He said he has asked the FAA for $24 million.
“None of costs in these two projects — the expansion and runway relocation — are because of mismanagement,” Clark said. “These were all costs that no one could have anticipated.”
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the Gary airport approached the agency in September with the request and that it is asking for the additional money to be added to the $57.8 million the FAA is currently providing. The $57.8 million will be disbursed over 10 years; the airport has asked that the $24 million be disbursed over three years.
Molinaro said the FAA is discussing the details with the airport but no timetable has been set as to when it will make a decision.
Clark also reported to the Gary Airport Board at its Tuesday meeting that he is still finding out the details of a possible development proposed by Chicago real estate development company Eastlake Development.
During regular business, the board voted 6-0, with member Cornell Collins absent, to extend a contract with Clark and his firm, JClark Aviation for one year through Oct. 8, 2013.
The contract, negotiated by an ad hoc committee headed by board member Roosevelt Allen, reduces Clark’s pay to $245 per hour from $350 per hour, with the monthly maximum not to exceed $10,000. Additionally, all travel expenses must be approved by the Airport Board, and either side can terminate the contract with 30 days’ notice.
In other business, marketing liasion James Ward III told the board Allegiant Air will provide a plane for 150 people to take a marketing trip to Orlando he’s planning with the airline Nov. 8-11. So far, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has expressed interest in going, and the public is welcome to take advantage as well.
Ward also confirmed Allegiant will start taking reservations for flights out of Gary again on Oct. 18.