Jetport's Plans to Expand Parking, a Sensible Response to Demand

May 31, 2007
Adding nearly 500 spaces will help make the airport a more popular place

If the prosperity of the Portland Jetport is measured by the number of passengers it services, then it logically is the facility's mission to make it as convenient as possible for you to get to the terminal, get to your plane on time, and get where you're going when you come back home.

Thus, providing sufficient places to park is central to that mission, especially if present facilities are often filled to capacity. That makes the jetport's proposal to build a new parking garage that would be nearly twice the size of the one it would replace a wise investment of jetport revenues.

Right now, the terminal building is mostly served by a two-story, 570-space garage built in 1978 and an adjacent facility with 1,142 spaces built in 2002.

The idea is to raze the older structure and replace it with a 1,039-space, five-level garage that would link with the newer facility to provide a total of 2,181 spaces. The new structure would cost $36.1 million and be completed by the end of next year - if the City Council approves the general airport revenue bonds required to build it.

The bonds, as their name indicates, would be paid off by money provided by jetport income, without burdening city taxpayers.

Right now, the parking structures are filled so often that the city has had to use off-site parking for the past three months.

Not coincidentally, passenger totals have broken records in six of the past seven months, and they are expected to climb from 680,450 in 2006 to 937,000 eight years from now.

In addition, a new discount airline, AirTran Airways, is beginning service at the jetport on June 7.

That means that parking needs will continue to climb, as will jetport revenues - as long as people can get there and find a place to park.

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