The Mobile City Council could vote as early as next week on officially sending $30 million to the Mobile Airport Authority (MAA) to build a new commercial airport terminal at Brookley Aeroplex.
The appropriation will occur over four payments, with the first installment of $15 million coming within one month of when the council votes to approve the move, MAA President Chris Curry said. Ultimately, the funds will help keep the project on track, as they move from a design phase to a construction phase, he said.
“The project started much earlier this year and the funds are going to support the terminal project,” Curry said. “It’s good to have local monies to support the project because it really prevents any delays. The money will help keep the project going.”
The next tranches of money will be dispersed based on when the MAA reaches certain construction goals, Curry said.
“The three $5 million payments are based on certain milestones in construction,” he said. “They’ll kick in once we get to about 50 percent or so. I don’t have the milestones in front of me.”
Curry said while the money will be set aside for the terminal project, it can also be used for the construction of a parking garage and any infrastructure needs around the project. He expects to break ground early next year, with vertical construction taking about a year and a half to complete.
The MAA is hoping to have the project completed and the terminal in use for commercial flights by the end of 2024.
In a statement, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson praised getting to this point in the project. He has been an adamant supporter of moving commercial service to Brookley and away from Bates Field in West Mobile.
“This project has been a long time in the making and will be one of the most transformative projects related to the city of Mobile’s future,” the statement read. “I think I speak for many Mobilians when I say the prospect of a downtown passenger terminal is very exciting. In addition to the increased passenger flight options and lower airfares, this move will help continue to capitalize on the synergy between the Port of Mobile, the downtown airport and our interstate and rail systems.”
Stimpson is expecting a vote on the funds during next week’s meeting.
“I look forward to next week, when I am confident the City Council will vote to take this next step in ensuring the city of Mobile’s support toward a fully operational Mobile International Airport downtown by the end of 2024,” Stimpson said in the statement.
Curry said Stimpson’s and the council’s support of the project makes it stronger and will help lead the MAA to success with it.
“The mayor and council have been committed from Day 1,” he said. “When they led the way in support, there was no doubt in my mind everything would come together.”
In other business, the council approved a resolution to provide bomb techs and equipment to the city of Birmingham for the upcoming World Games. The council also approved a $449,671 contract with the Water Institute of the Gulf for a citywide resilience assessment.
The assessment will help the city, local businesses and stakeholders better understand what can be done to prepare for “stressors” to the local water supply, such as natural disasters and other issues. The Water Institute of the Gulf, which serves as a consultant on the project, will also help the city develop a plan moving forward that takes its resiliency in the face of these stressors into account.
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