Printer Friendly


MINNEAPOLIS, March 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Metropolitan Airports Commission staff will request commissioners at their meeting March 13 to recommend to the Minnesota Legislature that facilities at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport be developed and expanded as necessary to meet future air traffic needs rather than build a new airport south of the Twin Cities in Dakota County.

The recommendation, if approved by the commission, will be forwarded to the legislature shortly after their meeting as will a similar recommendation from the Metropolitan Council which meets March 14 to finalize its decision.

"The findings and conclusions of this seven-year planning effort strongly support the continued use of MSP over the building of a new airport in Dakota County," said Jeff Hamiel, MAC Executive Director, "and we believe most of our commissioners will agree with that conclusion."

A memorandum summarizing the Dual Track Airport Planning Process and the findings of the studies was forwarded to the commissioners this week for their review.

Some of the findings summarized in the staff memorandum include:

-- The costs for the MSP development plan are $2.8 billion; the projected cost of the new airport is $4.5 billion.

-- MAC must rely more heavily on borrowed funds for a new airport. More internally generated funds and Passenger Facility Charges could be used at MSP.

-- Airline charges per enplaned passenger would rise to $8 for the MSP expansion plan and $11 for the new airport development (in 1995 dollars).

-- Northwest Airlines would incur an increase in annual costs of approximately $70 million to replace existing maintenance facilities at a new airport. MAC could not afford to offset these costs as an inducement to Northwest to relocate maintenance facilities to a new airport.

-- The high forecast (640,000 landings and takeoffs) can be accommodated at MSP with the new north-south runway.

-- Costs of regional highway improvements are $73 million for the MSP alternative and $366 million for the new airport alternative. These costs are not included in the Metropolitan Council's Transportation Policy Plan nor in current MnDOT plans.

-- The new airport would result in the loss of up to 17,000 acres of farm land and displace 1,132 residents. The MSP alternative would displace 227 residents.

-- Correspondence from Northwest Airlines indicates that because of the cost of providing replacement facilities at a new airport, it may choose to relocate some or all of the 11,000 non-airport related jobs elsewhere. Additionally, Northwest has indicated a 15 percent activity reduction at a new airport with an accompanying further reduction in employment.

Hamiel said that both the expansion of MSP and a new airport would adequately meet traffic levels in the year 2020, including the high forecast of 48 million passengers and 640,000 landings and takeoffs.

Next week's actions by the MAC and Metropolitan Council nearly end the seven-year Dual Track airport planning effort, mandated by the 1989 session of the Minnesota Legislature which required the MAC and Metropolitan Council to study both airport options.

It is unclear whether the legislature will begin its review of the two agencies' recommendations this year or wait until 1997 as envisioned in the 1989 law. The recommendations were originally scheduled to be presented to the legislature by July 1, 1996, but the MAC and Met Council accelerated the process in January when Governor Carlson asked the legislature to make a decision this year.

If the legislature concurs with the MAC and Met Council recommendations, the continued use of MSP well into the next century means that substantial airfield, terminal and access improvements will be required to avoid decreased service levels and increased user costs. Improvements at MSP required to meet anticipated traffic levels in the next century include a new 8,000-foot north-south runway, which would be added to the existing three-runway airfield.

If needed, a new replacement terminal building would be built on the west side of the airport, while gates on the existing gold and green concourses would be expanded. Other improvements would include highway access from Trunk Highway 62 (Crosstown) and Trunk Highway 77 (Cedar Avenue) to the new entrance on the airport's west side. A parking/drop off facility would be built on the east side of the airport.

At the March 13 meeting, commissioners also will be requested to:

-- Approve the recommended 20-year development plan for MSP.

-- Approve the recommended 30-year conceptual plan for MSP, to be used for planning and environmental purposes.

-- Direct staff to complete an update of the plans in five years.

-- Authorize staff to take actions to protect approaches to existing and proposed runways, specifically for acquisition of property in the south approach to the proposed north-south runway.

-- Authorize staff, with the involvement of affected communities, to develop a comprehensive mitigation plan for areas impacted by airport operations.

-- Direct staff to amend the capital improvement program to incorporate appropriate projects identified in the 2010 long-term comprehensive plan.
 -0- 3/8/96

/CONTACT: Nigel Finney, 612-726-8187, or Jeff Hamiel, 612-726-8188, both for MAC/

CO: Metropolitan Airports Commission ST: Minnesota IN: AIR SU:

KG-KW -- MNF004 -- 1639 03/08/96 14:01 EST
COPYRIGHT 1996 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 8, 1996

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters