June 25--Look out Heathrow, O'Hare and Tokyo Haneda: Eugene Airport is closing in on you. It's getting a second baggage carousel.
Eugene has landed a $7.4 million federal grant to help fund ongoing expansion aimed at accommodating increased passenger counts.
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., made the announcement Tuesday. The grant comes from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The upgrades, to be carried out over the next two years, include replacing the existing baggage carousel and installing a second one; expanding the security screening checkpoint; and adding rental car and shuttle counters.
"The Eugene Airport is a critical access point for the South Willamette Valley and an important part of our economy. It serves hundreds of thousands of people and businesses in the surrounding communities," DeFazio said in a statement. "As someone who uses the Eugene Airport on a weekly basis, I know firsthand how security lines can extend all the way to the baggage claim. This FAA grant will improve efficiency and result in a better passenger experience."
The airport has experienced three record passenger years in a row and is on track for a fourth record year, said Cathryn Stephens, assistant airport director.
The airport earlier this year completed a previous phase of its ongoing expansion, a $5 million upgrade of the lobby, including installation of new baggage screening machines. Of that cost, $3.2 million came from the FAA, and the rest came from facility fees that the airport charges passengers.
Stephens said the new batch of federal money will be supplemented by passenger facility charges, plus revenue from landing fees, leases, concessions and parking.
The airport has estimated the total cost of this phase of improvements at $11 million, although it is refining that number, Stephens said.
With the funding the airport will:
_Move and expand the passenger security screening checkpoint, and install automated exit lane technology.
_Move and replace escalators and stairs.
_Move the B-gates hold room; the B-gates are on the ground floor of the airport.
_Replace the current bag claim carousel and add a second bag claim carousel.
_Move and expand the office for the law enforcement staff.
_Add two rental car/airport shuttle counters.
_Possibly move the A-gates elevator; the A-gates are on the airport's upper floor.
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