Myrtle Beach Unsure Of How To Pay For New Airport Terminal
Never mind that they don't yet know how they're going to pay for
it. Officials at Myrtle Beach (SC) International Airport are set to
break ground on a new $185 million terminal.
The biggest question is how much of that bill the FAA will foot.
The airport hopes to receive up to $20 million from the sale of
property, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun-News. The airport is
also reportedly trying to work out a money deal with the Air Force
Base Redevelopment Authority for as much as $15 million.
But Horry County (SC) government leaders say it's not smart to
start a project without knowing exactly where the money is coming
from. "I'm afraid we're painting ourselves into a corner," said
County Councilman Harold Worley, who has requested written updates
on airport financing. "They're going to build half of a building
and then come begging for more money from Horry County." He was
quoted in the Sun-News.
Even as Airport Director Bob Kemp gets ready to build the new
terminal, that $185 million price tag could certainly go up. The
costs for steel and concrete are rising at a phenomenal rate,
making it hard to pin an exact cost figure on the project.
"I am concerned about costs," project manager Don Corinna told
the Sun-News. "No matter how accurate we were [with estimates],
there very well could be a significant increase with steel and
But Horry County Councilman Mark Lazarus wasn't worried about
trying to identify revenue sources. "Even if the FAA gives us
nothing and the project falls apart, we haven't wasted anything,"
he said. "That's a worst-case scenario, and I don't anticipate that
So far, ideas for funding the terminal include:
- $70 million in county debt
- $30 million in reserves
- Passenger facility-use charges
- Airline charges
- Lease payments from car-rental businesses
And then there's an idea sure to generate controversy: Charge a
$2/round fee for golf. County Council Chair Liz Gilland came up
with the idea, but admits, it probably won't fly.
"We're looking for every dollar we can find," Gilland told the
Sun-News. "This will be the single most important structure in this
county. It's that important."
The new terminal is slated to open in 2007.