According to an article on the KTUU website
State’s 2 largest airports may get facelifts
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - by Jeffrey Hope
Anchorage, Alaska - Gov. Frank Murkowski says a new plan will help support jobs in both Anchorage and Fairbanks. The governor is asking the Legislature to approve millions in bonds that would improve airports in the state's two biggest cities.
Engineering standards have changed since terminals A and B were built at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The governor says that's part of why the airport needs an overhaul, so he's asking lawmakers to approve $288 million in new revenue bonds.
With its tall ceilings and yards of windows, Terminal C feels like a mini-stadium. Beside it, terminals A and B now look smaller and darker than they really are.
The governor wants to change that and is asking the Legislature to approve millions of dollars to get the job done. But it isn't all about a facelift. Since this part of the airport was built, earthquake codes have changed. Support columns are now considered small, and some building joints are no longer considered strong enough to handle the stress of a major earthquake.
The plan also calls for major changes to the baggage system. The long conveyor belt just outside Terminal B, built in the late 1960s, would most likely be replaced with a series of smaller conveyor belts.
The governor wants $91 million to upgrade the two terminals, which is far less than the $250 million it cost to renovate Terminal C -- a project that was delayed for months.
The governor can joke about it now. “We're gonna hold you to that figure, Mort,” he said to airport director Mort Plumb.
“Yes, sir,” Plumb replied.
“Oh right, that's fair enough,” the governor said.
Officials say they've learned from their mistakes. They say this time the airlines and the contractor will work together on both the design and any major changes.
“Like I said, we'll make some new mistakes, most likely,” said Kip Knudson, deputy commission of aviation. “But if cost overruns do occur, the airlines will be at the table advising as to what to do, whether to take it out of some other portion of the building or to actually sell more bonds. But they will be at the table this time.”
In all, the governor is asking for $288 million for improvements in both Anchorage and Fairbanks. Some of that will be matched with federal funds. And like other airport projects, the airlines will pay the bonds off and it will be up to each carrier individually to decide if that's a cost they'll pass on to the customer.
The bill was read Tuesday in Juneau and is already in a committee. Among lawmakers, there seems to be some support but also some healthy skepticism. Some said they didn’t want to be asked twice for more funding, as happened with Terminal C.
Rep. Ethan Berkowitz said he was glad the plans include money for noise abatement, since he represents some neighborhoods near the airport.
As far as federal funding, the airport generally does very well. With most construction projects, the state often pays 10 percent and the federal government 90 percent, but that doesn’t apply in every case. It will apply to some runway and taxiway issues included in the renovation plans, but not to all of the terminal renovations.