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$20 million grant sought to build new terminal at SLO airport

Here's an architectural rendering of the new passenger terminal proposed for the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.
Here's an architectural rendering of the new passenger terminal proposed for the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. Courtesy rendering

If all goes as planned, construction of a new passenger terminal at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport could begin late next year.

On Oct. 28, county Airports Manager Kevin Bumen plans to ask county supervisors for permission to apply for a federal grant to pay for the bulk of the cost of the $30 million project. This would shift the project from the planning phase to the construction phase.

“If the supervisors concur, the project could go out to bid early next year, and we could start construction late next year,” Bumen said. “Construction is expected to last 18 to 24 months.”

Bumen plans to apply for a $20 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to help pay for construction. That agency has already supported the project, having given the county a grant of more than $2 million in 2010 to fund terminal design and preparation of construction documents.

The rest of the funding would come from various passenger fees, operational revenues and county funding, Bumen said. The new terminal will be 50,000 square feet and have enough room for future expansion to accommodate ticketing, baggage claims and security screening.

The process of developing a new passenger terminal at the airport began more than a decade ago. The new facility is needed because the existing terminal is outdated, dating to the 1980s, and cannot accommodate additional growth.

The new terminal will be built farther back from the runway, close to the Cal Fire station. As the airport has expanded, the terminal has gotten too close to the runway and does not conform to FAA safety standards, Bumen said.

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