Aviation Authority approves $400,000 upgrade to taxiways

By Ashley Barker 
Published Dec. 19, 2013

The Charleston County Aviation Authority held its final board meeting of the year today at Charleston International Airport.

The board unanimously approved a $400,000 upgrade to taxiways A, B and G. The Finance Committee expected the project to cost roughly $1 million and included that cost in its fiscal 2014 budget.

ADC Engineering Inc., a facility engineering consultant, submitted a quote under the anticipated cost. The consultant agreed that the project will not exceed $440,349.15. That includes surveying, geotechnical services, design, permitting and procurement assistance services associated with repairing the taxiways and improving the lighting.

The Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program will reimburse 90% of the project’s cost, leaving $44,035 to be paid by the authority.

The existing concrete on Charleston International Airport taxiways A, B and G are exhibiting wear and tear, according to an authority document. The asphalt shoulders of each taxiway also are not in compliance with dimensional standards for FAA operations, the document said.

During the meeting, the board also received a Bank of America Merrill Lynch confirmation of a $13.8 million deposit to the authority for a successful Boeing Co. land sale. The cash must be used within five years and may only be used for aeronautical purposes, per FAA regulations.

The authority sold more than 200 acres of land to Palmetto Railways, a division of the S.C. Department of Commerce, with state bond funds allocated to Boeing. Palmetto Railways then offered a long-term lease to Boeing, which has the option to purchase the land in 2027.

Other items discussed during the board meeting:

  • The board approved a rate increase for valet service offered by AmeriPark at Charleston International Airport. Since the current rate of $15 per day matches the parking deck’s daily rate, the airport has experienced overcrowding in the valet lot. Beginning Jan. 1, valet parking will cost $17 per day, an increase of $2. On July 1, when automobile volumes are maintained at 85% of their current parking volume, the price will increase to $18 per day.
  • Judith Olmstead, the authority’s director of finance and administration, said through four months of the fiscal year, ending Oct. 31, the authority was over budget slightly in revenue and under budget in expenses.
  • The board approved a request to purchase information technology disaster recovery software. After a significant power outage occurred in September 2012, which caused the servers to go down for two days, the authority’s IT consultant recommended buying disaster recovery software. After negotiating state and county discounts, Dell AppAssure agreed to a price of $20,943 for the software protection.
  • Sen. Paul G. Campbell Jr., director of airports, said the airport handled a significant volume of people during the weekend of Thanksgiving. “The Saturday of Thanksgiving, 6,000 people went through TSA. That’s a record for the airport,” Campbell said. “Through October, we were up to 1.225 million passengers in-plane.” He expects the airport to have between 1.3 million and 1.4 million passengers by the end of this year.
  • The board elected Lawrence Richter as vice chairman and Thomas Hartnett as secretary. The members voted to table nominating an assistant treasurer until their January meeting.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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