Tulsa Airport trust OKs $17 million bond issue

Board approves noise insulation contract for 57 homes


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Sept. 17--A $17 million revenue bond issue and a $1.19 million contract to insulate 57 homes in the 11-year-old aircraft noise mitigation program were approved Thursday by the Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust.

The trustees rejected a proposed fuel tank storage amendment to the minimum standards at Tulsa International Airport and approved a proposed revision of the airport's taxicab rules.

The bond issue will refinance 1999B, 2000A and 2001 bonds that have interest rates of 5.2 percent to 6.125 percent.

The interest on the new bonds will be 2.45 percent to 5.2 percent, providing a net present value savings of $800,000, said Mike Newman, a financial adviser for First Southwest.

The board approved a $1,189,347 aircraft noise insulation contract with Strong Tower Construction LLC, doing business as Koch Construction, for the insulation of 57 homes in neighborhoods south of the main north-south runway.

Strong Tower/Koch of Louisville, Ky., offered the lowest of four bids on the project. The engineer's cost estimate was $1,614,391.

The noise mitigation program provides options for owners of 1,700 homes, businesses, schools and churches in neighborhoods south and southeast of Tulsa International to contend with 24-hour aircraft noise in excess of 65 decibels -- a volume that the Environmental Protection Agency says is equivalent to that experienced by an observer next to a busy freeway.

Property owners can opt for replacement of windows and doors, insulation of attics

and walls and replacement of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

The other options are a property sales assistance program or payment to the owner for a flyover easement, officials said.

Tank rule change proposal fails: After months of study by consultants and surveys of tenants, Airports Director Jeff Mulder recommended, and the board agreed unanimously, to reject a proposed amendment to the airport's minimum standards.

The minimum standards were revised in 2007 to include at least 20,000 gallons of fuel storage for fixed base operators.

New fixed base operators at the airport have sought an amendment that would allow them to make cash payments to TAIT instead of installing fuel tanks, Mulder said.

"Based on our review, feedback from tenants, I would recommend we not move forward with the amendment," he said.

Cab fare regulations: Trustees also reviewed a proposed revision to the airport's taxicab rules.

In response to passenger complaints about fare gouging by some taxicab operators, the board voted to require cabs to carry openly posted fare guides listing sample distances and fares from the airport to various points in the city.

The revision would institute penalties for non-compliance.

An operator who violates the taxicab rules could be subject to suspension or revocation of the cab's vehicle identification/access card, which a cab must have in order to provide service at the airport, Mulder said.

The first violation could be punishable by a seven-day suspension from operating at Tulsa International; a second violation could mean a 14-day suspension; a third violation a 30-day suspension, and a fourth violation a one-year suspension, airport officials said.

Under the new provisions, taxicab operators would be notified of a complaint and receive a seven-day notice of an administrative hearing, where the operator could respond to the complaint.

Any decision by the airports director could be appealed to the Tulsa Airport Authority or the City Council, the taxicab rules say.

Officials said the board would consider approving the new provision to the taxicab rules in October.

Rental car concessions: Airport trustees also agreed to a $110,500 professional services agreement with Leigh Fisher, the airport consultant formerly known as Jacobs Consultancy.

Leigh Fisher will assist the trust in negotiations with airport rental car operators on a 2011-16 rental car concession agreement to follow the current agreement, which expires next year.

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