Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Transportation Fee Could Yield $60M a Year

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2018 at 2:59 PM

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A new transportation utility fee could generate up to $60 million a year, an expert told Memphis City Council members Tuesday.

Council member Edmund Ford Jr. introduced the idea of such a fee during a meeting two weeks ago. The fees could generate revenue to be used to fund the underfunded Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) and road infrastructure projects, Ford said.


The transportation fee would be tacked on to utility bills and would be based on the number of trips on Memphis roads generated by individual properties. The rate would differ for commercial and residential properties.

When council members returned to the discussion Tuesday, they heard from Wayne Gaskin, a former city of Memphis engineer. He said there are many different ways to structure the rates, and said different options could produce revenues ranging from $30 to $60 million a year.

Based on the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ national standards, Gaskin said each month a large church could generate up to $6,300 in additional revenue, a sit-down restaurant up to $500, and a fast food restaurant anywhere from $125 to $1,000.


The council could opt to base the rates on types of commercial properties, as well as allow some residents to only pay a portion of the fee based on factors like income.


“There will be a lot of give and take when it comes to setting the rates,” Gaskin said. “I can’t emphasize that enough.”


Gaskin said the council, with community input, will have to hash out the specific details and amounts of the fees implemented in Memphis.

“It has to be something that is developed jointly,” he said.

Councilman Worth Morgan said he still has some "major questions" about the fee, such as how the funds will be dispersed. 


Ford said the council will continue the conversation at its meeting in two weeks.

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Memphis Airport Modernization Kicks Off Tomorrow

Posted By on Tue, Sep 11, 2018 at 2:45 PM

Renderings show an updated B Concourse. - MEMPHIS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  • Memphis International Airport
  • Renderings show an updated B Concourse.


On Wednesday, officials will kick off the three-year construction journey to modernize the Memphis International Airport (MEM).

The massive project will consolidate all airline, retail, and food and beverage businesses into the airport’s concourse B. It will bring wider corridors, moving walkways, larger boarding areas, higher ceilings, increased natural lighting, more concessions, and seismic upgrades.
Renderings show an updated B Concourse. - MEMPHIS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  • Memphis International Airport
  • Renderings show an updated B Concourse.

All of that comes with a price tag of $245 million, according to August numbers from the Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA).

Just last month, the airport board announced it had picked Flintco as the project’s primary contractor in a deal worth more than $122.5 million. The board also approved a $32-million contract with Aero Bridgeworks for new jet bridges, also part of the modernization project. (Flyers walk through jet bridges to get from the airport to the airplane. Thanks, Google Images.)

None of the funding for the project comes from any local tax coffers.

Why?

The re-design was necessary, airport officials say, because air service at MEM has shrunk. Three concourses and 80-plus gates made sense when Memphis was a Delta hub.

Now that it’s not, a single concourse will house enough gates for flights, and put passengers in close proximity to gates, food, shops, and bathrooms. It will also allow airplanes to move more easily in and out of gates, allowing for more-efficient air service.

Renderings show an updated B Concourse. - MEMPHIS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
  • Memphis International Airport
  • Renderings show an updated B Concourse.

When it opens, Concourse B will have 23 gates. Those gates can handle about 3 million emplacements (people getting on or off airplanes), which is about 50 percent more traffic than MEM has now.

If authority officials land more flights to and from MEM (as they do on the regular), B Concourse can handle 15 more gates that’ll be able to handle 5.5 million additional enplanements.

What to expect


When it opens, B Concourse its expected to look like modern airport concourses in other cities. High ceilings, glass, and wide corridors will create a modern, airy space for passengers. There will be new and better food and retail options.

Ticketing and check-in will continue in the A, B, and C terminals. Baggage claim for all airlines will be consolidated into the B baggage claim. Though, A,B, and C baggage claim will be open for entry and exit.

Security screening will be largely consolidated to the B concourse but the checkpoint at C will remain open for heavy traffic.

How it'll evolve

Concourse B closed earlier this year. And, after tomorrow's groundbreaking ceremony, Flintco workers will get to work (maybe they already are).

While that work is underway, everything — gates, food, shops, and all — will operate out of A and C Concourse. When the work is done, everything — gates, food, shops, and all — will move into the new and modern B Concourse.

Once that's done, the south end of Concourse C will be demolished to make it easier for planes to move in and out of the airport.

Would it help to see this? Check out these graphics from the MSCAA:

 
MEMPHIS AND SHELBY COUNTY AIRPORT AUTHORITY
  • Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority
MEMPHIS AND SHELBY COUNTY AIRPORT AUTHORITY
  • Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority
MEMPHIS AND SHELBY COUNTY AIRPORT AUTHORITY
  • Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority

Got more questions? Go here.

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