Top political leaders in the state joined mid-Missouri business leaders for Tuesday morning’s groundbreaking ceremony for a new $23 million terminal at Columbia Regional Airport (COU).
The airport currently provides daily flights to Dallas, Denver, Chicago and will soon be flying to Charlotte. Governor Mike Parson says the project is big for all of mid-Missouri.
“A lot of people, you know, when you’ve got to go to St. Louis (and) Kansas City those are travel days for them,” Parson says. “That’s windshield time that they lose, but if you can come here to Columbia, I think you’re going to have an opportunity. I really think they’re going to build on this and it’s just going to get better and better and you’re going to get more flights in here.”
University of Missouri System President Dr. Mun Choi, Columbia Mayor Brian Treece, Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill, and Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin also spoke at the ceremony. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt spoke via video from Washington.
President Choi says a new terminal will be big for the University of Missouri and for the entire region. Mayor Treece agrees.
“A new airport terminal is one of those generational investments that, you know, will pay big dividends. Not just in the short-run construction jobs at the end of this pandemic, but in years to come with the economic development this opportunity creates,” says Treece.
Mayor Treece says a new terminal puts further destinations in play, adding that Atlanta and Phoenix are two major hub cities Columbia would like to fly to. The mayor notes COU needs more space and more baggage carousels.
The old terminal at Columbia Regional was built in 1968 and is still being used today.
Dr. Choi notes the importance of the new terminal, with the NextGen facility being built on campus. State Reps. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, and Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, led the bipartisan effort to restore cuts to Mizzou’s NextGen Precision Health initiative.
The NextGen Precision Health Institute is expected to train the next generation of scientists who will help Missouri address future health care needs. It’s a $220 million facility.
The airport terminal’s main funding source is a hotel tax approved by Columbia voters in 2016. It’s also paid for in part with enplanements, which involves per-seat charges paid by each passenger when they purchase a ticket.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the state Department of Transportation (MoDOT) are also providing some funding.
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