September 1, 2008

Clark County Not Shelving Airport Expansion Plan

By Spillman, Benjamin

Clark County proceeded with a $1.8 billion airport plan to expand McCarran International Airport despite pleas from airline officials that there won't be enough passengers to justify the cost.

In a letter to leaders of McCarran International Airport, airline officials told commissioners the state of their industry is so shaky that every airport upgrade that can't be justified by current need should be canceled or delayed.

Clark County Board of Commissioners awarded Perini Building Co. a $1.2 billion contract for a new terminal building that is scheduled to open in 2012.

"The challenge we have had at the airport is to keep up with the growth," Clark County Aviation Director Randall Walker told the commissioners. "The only way we are going to get relief from that is the Terminal 3 project."

The board acted after Clark County Aviation Director Randall Walker said the Terminal 3 project is already needed because the existing Terminal 1 is already taxed. Terminal 1 is designed for about 42 million passengers annually, but , about 44.3 million people squeezed through the terminal last year, he said.

The new terminal will be paid for through passenger fees. Passengers pay an additional $5.50 on every airline ticket to support operations at McCarran International Airport.

Copyright Las Vegas Business Press Jul 28, 2008

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