Airport Project May Proceed Without State Funding
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The City of Rochester could move forward with a major project at the Rochester Airport even though state lawmakers have yet to approve a bonding package containing funding for it.
The City Council will be asked next week to award the contract for a new US Customs facility and related improvements to the airport terminal to the Kraus-Anderson firm, and Mead and Hunt Construction Services for just over $12 million. City officials note the bid came in about 15-percent below the engineer’s estimate for the project.
In seeking the Council’s approval to move forward, city staff also point out Rochester recently received a preliminary commitment of $7.3 million in funding for the project from the federal government and $790,000 from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The remaining balance of almost $3.9 million would be covered using funds from the 2013 sales tax transportation account.
That amount would be reduced if funding for the project is eventually approved as part of a state bonding package. The city’s legislative delegation has been requesting $2.7 million in state funding for the project.
The materials provided to the City Council say, “The Rochester Airport Commission believes that the federal and state funds secured to date plus the favorable bids provides the best opportunity that we have had to complete this critically needed project for this region and recommends that the city proceed to award the bids and take the actions needed to enable the project to move forward to construction at this time.”
The city has been told by the federal government that if improvements are not made to the facility, the airport’s “international” status could be in jeopardy, which could prove disastrous for the Mayo Clinic’s plans to develop Rochester into a Destination Medical Center.