Airport officials can begin spending money on $1.8 billion redevelopment project

Published: Tuesday, June 19 2012 9:26 p.m. MDT

The Salt Lake City International airport pictured on Thursday, April 5, 2012. Airport officials were given a green light Tuesday to begin spending money on design and engineering on a $1.8 billion redevelopment project.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Airport officials have a green light to begin spending money on design and engineering for the redevelopment of Salt Lake City International Airport.

The Salt Lake City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night promising to reimburse the airport for capital expenses on the planned $1.8 billion airport rebuild. The city likely will use bond funds to reimburse the airport, though city officials don't plan to issue any bonds before 2014.

Roughly one-third of the project's price tag will be covered by the airport's cash reserves.

In January, Mayor Ralph Becker announced plans to demolish and completely rebuild the airport to address seismic risks and accommodate its emergence as a regional hub.

The City Council's action Tuesday allows the airport to begin spending money for preliminary work on the project. Maureen Riley, the airport's executive director, said that work could begin as soon as September.

Airport officials have been working with a consultant to refine plans for the new terminal complex, using a 10-year timeline.

Plans for 2012 include completing that plan, finishing an environmental assessment and beginning design of the project. Construction is expected to begin in 2013, with completion tentatively slated for 2022.

The still-in-progress redevelopment plans call for construction of a new terminal, with concourses on the east and west sides, and a new parking garage to the south.

The new terminal is proposed to be built just west of the existing parking garage, which will allow crews to complete and open that building, along with the west concourse, before tearing down any existing buildings.

The new parking garage also would be completed before the existing structure is razed.

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