The Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport was recently awarded a $1.2 million grant, according to a statement released by U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville). The grant will be used to help fund an ongoing terminal expansion project.
“The Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport is an important economic hub for our region,” Vela said in the statement, adding that he will continue to pursue funds from the FAA and the Department of Transportation.
The airport has been working on expansions and improvements for some time. The terminal expansion project is currently in its second year, said Interim Aviation Director Sesha Vorrey Tuesday. “We’re going to use it for constructing a brand new terminal. And that terminal will be right in front of the existing terminal where the metered parking is,” he said. “We have completed 20 percent of the preliminary design and environmental at this time,” he said.
On the whole, the project — which is expected to be completed by early 2018 — has an estimated total cost of $24 million, Vorrey said. The airport hopes to fund the remainder of the project through more grant awards, as well as a partial match from the City of Brownsville, Vorrey said.
The expansion project is an ambitious one, creating thousands of square feet of terminal space, and the capability to expand in the future. “It’s going to be a 55,000 square footage new terminal, and it’s going to have six gates,” Vorrey said. “It’s going to have a federal inspection station, transportation security office and the screening equipment, of course,” he said.
By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press