Voters may decide on a tax increase to fund the airport terminal expansion

8 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago May 02, 2016 May 2, 2016 Monday, May 02 2016 Monday, May 02, 2016 4:26:00 PM CDT in News
By: Shelly Hagan, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - The city is moving forward with the Columbia Regional Airport Terminal Master Plan. On Monday, the city council will decide whether to present a tax proposal to voters in August to help fund the terminal. The proposal would include a hotel/motel tax increase of one percent, from four percent to five percent.


If voters approve the tax increase, then the airport would receive $8-10 million from the tax increase over a maximum period of 23 years. However, the tax alone would not cover the cost of the entire airport expansion plan, which costs around $40 million.


The city is hoping to receive a $20 million grant from the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). To cover the additional cost, the city is looking at other local funding options such as airport parking fees and an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge which is a service charge on every passenger's ticket.


Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick said the chamber does not yet have an official stance on the hotel/motel tax.


According to McCormick, the chamber supports finding different funding options for the expansion of the terminal and is looking at federal, local and state options.


"One of the issues on the first read on Monday is the hotel tax. We are waiting to see what that looks like and what that ballot looks like," McCormick said.


Once the chamber consults with its government affairs committee next week, it will decide whether to endorse the ballot.


KOMU reached out to The Tiger Hotel and The Broadway Hotel for comment on the tax proposal, but did not receive a response.


According to the city, visitors would primarily pay for the hotel/motel tax.


Completing the Terminal Area Master Plan is a long process. Airport manager Don Elliott said Parsons Brinckerhoff, an engineering and design firm, plans to submit the final proposal to the FAA in July.


"Everyone is going to have to agree, the city of Columbia, the FAA, and possibly the voters of Columbia," Elliott said.


You can find the potential ballot language for the hotel/motel tax on the city council agenda.

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