Airport improvement projects set

Capital improvement plans costing $160.59 million over the next five years for the city’s two airports — Tulsa International and Jones-Riverside — were outlined to the Tulsa Airport Authority and its financing trusts at its January meeting for action in February or March.
The plans envision 19 projects for Tulsa International at $151.87 million and 14 for Jones-Riverside at $8.73 million for the fiscal years 2011 through 2015.
They will be presented to Federal Aviation Administration officials and tenants of both airports at a joint planning conference Jan. 27 before being submitted to the authority for approval.
The authority was also given a peek at improvements that they may consider for the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years that have anticipated costs of $12.6 million at Tulsa International for work that will continue on Taxiway Juliet at the northern end of the main north-south runway at it western side.
The largest project at $36.25 million is rebuilding the main north-south runway at Tulsa International that will run through the 2014 fiscal year.
Because it will be closed for long periods, traffic will be diverted to the east-west runway which is to have a $1.5 million upgrade to approach lighting for planes landing from the east and $150,000 to demolish two hangars at the western end of the runway to establish a runway protection zone.
The noise mitigation program for Tulsa International is planned at $5 million for the 2011 fiscal year, which is set to be the final year for that program which began in 2000 for 1,777 properties, mostly homes.
Other projects for Tulsa International include:
? improvements to the terminal building
? rehabilitating the access roads to the terminal and relocate the exit road,
? improvements to the north development area,
? replace outdated airfield signs
? rehabilitating the north-south runway on the west side of the airport, one of its taxiways and the safety areas at each end
? demolish a building on Mingo Road, replace roofs on the cargo buildings
? construct a runup pad near the center of the airport
? expand the parking garage and acquire a new fire vehicle
At Jones-Riverside the three biggest projects are upgrades to airfield signs, $1.6 million; upgrade the long north-south runway, $1.66 million, and its shorter, parallel runway, $1.34 million.
Other projects include improvements to the northwest-southeast runway, rehabilitating the perimeter and access roads, taxiway construction, sewer construction, drainage improvements and surveys.
Funding for the projects comes from nine different sources including the FAA, Oklahoma Air National Guard, the state, passenger facility charges on airline tickets and bonds.
“Everything is working the way they should” for the Tulsa Municipal Airport Trust, the authority’s financing arm for the American Airlines Maintenance & Engineering Center, according to Russell D. Robinson of Cross & Robinson in presenting the annual independent auditors’ report.
There are four series of bond issues outstanding with a balance of $453.3 million on May 31, 2009.
Lower interest rates means that the funds needed to be kept in reserve has dropped to $9 million from $14 million, Russell told the authority.
That was possible because of the 2001 series of three bond issues were at variable rates now at 0.55 percent from the 1992, 1995 and 2000 series were as high as 7.75 percent.
The trust, formed in 1958, only finances the facilities for American Airline, which pays the costs.
Authority members were told airlines boarded 1.4 million passengers during 2009 compared with 1.59 million a year earlier.
Cargo traffic for the year at Tulsa International totaled 58,975 tons, down from 59,334 tons a year earlier.



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