Still aglow from news about SpaceX, Brownsville City Commissioners were still looking skyward Tuesday night as they discussed the city’s pursuit of funds to build a new terminal at the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport.
Aviation Director Larry Brown said the initial phase of the project, which includes an environmental assessment and 20 percent of the design work, will be funded largely by the Federal Aviation Administration, assuming the project meets the agency’s criteria.
Brown and Mayor Tony Martinez both said the news that the world’s first commercial launch pad will be constructed just miles east of the airport is even more reason to invest in air travel.
Brown pushed two options to commissioners, both of which would leave the airport terminal roughly in the same position, although one aims solely to renovate what’s already there.
Analysis from airport officials shows that simply renovating the existing terminal would be a short-term solution, buying the airport only about 10 years before it would need to be replaced, based on passenger forecasts.
The schematic that Brown and others prefer would construct a new terminal essentially on Amelia Earheart Drive while creating a new curb front that would allow vehicles to drop passengers off at the curb and continue circling to the airport exit. Parking would be altered, with the potential for expansion to either side of the terminal.
The single level terminal building would have second floor departure lounges similar to those used at larger airports.