City officials praised U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison this week for including $4.5 million in a 2007 federal transportation bill for improvements at the San Marcos Airport.
The funding still has to survive a vote by the full Senate and a conference committee with the House. Then it must be signed into law by President Bush. But it is almost certain the money will survive the process because Hutchison is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Mayor Susan Narvaiz called the airport "an economic treasure in our community." The city plans to use the money for a new terminal building of up to 10,000 square feet, with public amenities, commercial lease space and a restaurant.
It will match the architecture of a new air traffic control tower included in the city's Capital Improvements Program for 2007.
Other improvements planned but not yet funded include new hangars, a fixed base operator facility, and a multipurpose fire station and training center.
"The airport improvements will help stimulate the local and regional economy, better serve the flying public and attract many more millions of dollars from the private sector for further airport development," Narvaiz said.
The city has owned the 1,300-acre airport on Texas 21 since 1966, when the former Gary AFB closed. The property was divided between the Gary Job Corps Center and the municipal airport, which now has more than 10,000 flights a year.
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