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El Paso Airport improvements costing more than $111 million await approval

More than $100 million in improvements awaiting approval for the El Paso International Airport.

Tuesday morning El Paso city leaders could approve a plan costing nearly $112 million to makeover the El Paso International Airport.

The 5-year plan lists several improvement projects and a presentation city leaders will review Tuesday says the projects would help improve the city’s visual image and grow the air transportation business.

The money would pay for projects over the next five years like landscape and architectural improvements, taxiway improvements to realign and extend some runways.

Projects would also consolidate baggage inspection systems and improve passenger notification systems like directories, ticket and gate counters, and PA systems.

The nearly $112 million budget comes from a number of sources like Federal Aviation Administration grants, passenger charge fees, and bonds.

Tuesday’s approval would also allow the El Paso city manager to make any and all budget transfers before finishing the projects.

The request form to the city says the upgrades are “needed for the airport,” but Christina Marquez of Northeast El Paso says she prefers a compromise.

“Put some money into the airport—that’s cool, that’s fine, I get that,” she says, “But put some money into other parts of the city that need it like streets, roads.”

Marquez continues, “I mean there are lights around here on the west side that don’t even work. There’s a lot of places that have been waiting for years to get funding to make things better.”

Marquez also says that improvements focusing on the visual aspect of El Paso might not help the city attract tourists.

“Granted, yeah, I guess they want to make the airport nice and attractive to people and say ‘there are things to do around El Paso that you can do,’” says Marquez, “But you should already come to El Paso knowing that there is a lot that happens here, there are a lot of things like culture that people don’t know about and you should want to learn more about it.”

Marquez concludes, “Make the outside just as pretty as the inside.”

Right now the projects listed are either under construction or under design.

If approved, the plan would kick off in 2019 and run through 2023.

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