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Spokane Airport Official Testifies Before Congressional Committee

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Spokane International Airport
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The head of Spokane International Airport testified before a congressional committee Tuesday about ways to pay for various improvement projects.

Larry Krauter’s main focus is to allow airports to increase the so-called “Passenger Facility Charge” that has remained at the same level, $4.50, for almost 20 years. His goal is $8.50 per passenger.

Krauter says that charge can go for specific types of improvements, coordinated between airports, the FAA, and the airlines.

“Constructing a snow removal maintenance and storage building, various improvements to the terminal buildings. We just renovated and put in new elevators. In the parking garage, that was done with passenger facilities charges. We have an upcoming project to upgrade roofs and windows, energy efficiency measures. All of these projects benefit the passengers that use the airport,” Krauter said.

He says the airport does not receive any taxpayer funds from the city or county.

The airport CEO says if the cap is not increased, the facility plans to use bonds to finance the improvement projects, which will dramatically increase the overall price because of the interest.

“It puts our payback period out almost 38 years, for the projects we want to do to improve the terminal building today. So an 18-year-old person coming into our terminal building is going to be paying for those same projects when they’re 56 years old,” he said.

Krauter says he believes the fact a hearing was held in the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure indicates there is an acknowledgement that user fees may be the only way the nation can deal with infrastructure problems.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.