Parking plans for President Trump's Columbia rally unclear

11 months 2 weeks 1 day ago Tuesday, October 30 2018 Oct 30, 2018 Tuesday, October 30, 2018 2:09:00 PM CDT October 30, 2018 in News
By: Ian Nickens, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - President Donald Trump will be at Columbia Regional Airport for a rally Thursday, but the airport isn't providing parking for the attendees. In fact, the airport manager, Mike Parks, said Tuesday it's using law enforcement to keep non-customers out of the airport parking lot.

Where should people who want to go to the rally park? When a KOMU 8 manager emailed the Trump campaign about it, the campaign said the information was available online. As of the writing of this story, that information is not online.

The airport manager told KOMU 8 News to call the Columbia Jet Center or the White House. The White House said to contact the campaign.

The City of Columbia said the Columbia Jet Center is "solely responsible" for planning out parking. But when KOMU 8 News reached out, the Columbia Jet Center said the Trump campaign should know where attendees should park.

KOMU 8 News also contacted the Missouri Republican Party about parking for the rally. It said the Trump campaign has information about attendee parking.

The Trump campaign has not responded to any further request for comment.

People who reserved tickets for the rally said they got a ticket telling them no posters or cameras, but the ticket didn't tell them where to park.

"I checked my email hoping I could get all that information, you know, like parking and all that, but I didn't see anything," said planned rally attendee Steve Ruiz. "So, at first I thought I put my email in wrong, but that wasn't the case. Still, to this day, I haven't gotten any information and, to my knowledge, I don't think there's any information out there about parking, so that's a little concerning."

The Columbia Regional Airport is on Airport Drive, off of Route H, and two miles from Highway 63. Route H only has one business. There are a couple of buildings with parking lots, but no lots large enough to accommodate the kind of crowds Trump normally pulls in. Route H doesn't have shoulders.

With two days to go until the rally, some attendees said they are worried that there's not a clear answer to the parking problem.

"I am concerned for the people that won't get the information in time, you know, I feel like this late, two days in advance to the rally, not everyone's going to find out," Ruiz said. "At that point, it has the potential to become problematic."

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