Columbia considers charging for parking at airport

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council is debating on charging travelers $3 per day to use the Columbia Regional Airport's parking lot. 

If 240 spaces were filled every day, the city would generate around $262,000 a year. The money would go towards the city's transit system. 

Traveler Matt Burel disagrees with the city and said the money should benefit the airport.

"If you are going to be charging money for this airport and this lot then it should be staying local here whether it is at the airport or somewhere close here and people should understand and have a voice of where it will be going if they are going to be paying it," Burel said. 

City Spokesman Steven Sapp said Councilman Ian Thomas believes the $3 charge is one way to add additional funding to help meet the transit goals.

Sapp said there is another proposal which would raise money for the airport in 2022. 

"In 2022, when the new terminal is scheduled to open we would begin charging a $5 fee that would go back into airport operations specifically for parking and terminal operations," he said.

The $5 fee would be added to the $3 parking fee if both amendments pass. 

Burel believes the parking charge shouldn't be a problem as long as the people know where the money is going. 

"There's a lot of convenience of having an airport in Columbia, so as long as people know  where the money is going and understanding that $3 seems very reasonable for the area, I don't see it being that big of an issue," he said.

The city council will be discussing the parking charge proposal at their September 3rd meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall.