Last year, the city spent $3.1 million of its own money on acquiring property around the airport for the proposed runway expansion and to finalize its master plan. The city also received a $2 million federal grant to rehabilitate pavement around the airport.
But those investments are minor compared to the $234 million the city proposes to spend over the next 20 years to improve the runways, construct new cargo and terminal facilities and add a fire station and other support services to the airport.
Strategically located next to U.S. 281 and the proposed county loop, the city sees an opportunity to convert its airport into a premier air cargo facility, Garza said. The airport's foreign trade zone designation and the ample space surrounding it would allow companies to establish international operations there to bring products in and out of the country.
Getting there will take time and money -- in the city's estimation, 20 years and $234 million.
The airport's main revenue source thus far is fuel sales and hangar rentals for the private and recreational pilots who take advantage of the cheap fuel available at the quiet airport. But there still weren't any takeoffs or landings scheduled at the airport this past Wednesday.
The airport won't try to compete with others in the Valley that already offer commercial flight service for residents, said Daniel Tijerina, the city's public works director who oversees the airport. But the facility can have a regional impact by attracting companies to do business there if the city first secures the needed investments to draw them in.
"Making these improvements at the airport will play a pivotal role in impacting economic development in this area," Tijerina said. "The plans are pretty big, but the city has a vision for them."
The 520-acre Edinburg International Airport is being touted by city leaders as a future player in the Rio Grande Valley's air cargo industry.
More than a dozen high-powered lobbying firms are angling for contracts from the agency that runs Orlando International Airport, which spends more money hiring people to influence federal and state...
Federal officials insist on steps to ensure that airliners don't skid off runways into traffic on nearby streets.
The FAA gave the go-ahead for a $15 billion expansion of O'Hare, that could ease some of the nation's worst flight delays but cost 2,600 people their homes.