The City Council placed the item on the May 6 ballot following a 6-0 vote at a Feb. 7 meeting. Mayor Pro Tem Rainey Rogers was not present for the meeting.
“It's important for everyone to know that this bond election is a step, not the final step, in the diligence, the analysis, the preparation for commercial passenger service,” McKinney Mayor George Fuller said.
A bond committee was convened in September to consider the potential expansion of the airport. Following a series of meetings, the bond committee recommended the process move forward and the item be added to the May election ballot during a Jan. 17 work session. The bond, if approved by voters, would fund the addition of a new 144,000-square-foot terminal to the east side of the airport. The terminal would include four gates with room to grow to 16 gates, 2,000 parking spaces, dining, retail and enhanced passenger experience amenities, such as play areas for children near gates.
The overall project scope is $300 million and city officials expected to fill the $100 million gap between the total cost and the potential bond funds with grants, possibly from the Federal Aviation Administration. The city plans to hold two open house sessions, one in March and another in April, for community members to learn about an environmental impact study conducted for the project prior to the spring election, Assistant City Manager Barry Shelton said.
“These open houses are being planned prior to us having the full preliminary draft of the document. We want to get it out, and we know it's important for the citizens who are going to go into the ballot box to choose whether or not the city moves forward with this. We want them to have the information so we're getting that out even earlier than we otherwise would have,” Shelton said.
Fuller said the council’s support for the airport expansion could change based on the outcome of the pending results of the environmental study. The expansion of the McKinney National Airport has been in the airport’s master plan since 2012, according to city officials. The airport currently provides general aviation services, such as private business flights, flight training and medical transport, and has been undergoing various expansion projects for some time.
“I respect anyone who has trepidation on this. I really do because this is a big, big deal, but let me back up to about 30,000 feet. Let's take a look at the area and say, ‘Does this metroplex merit and will it probably demand another commercial airport?’ I come up with the answer ‘yes,'” Council Member Patrick Cloutier said at the Feb. 7 meeting.
The bond election will be part of the May 6 general election as a single proposition item. Three McKinney City Council seats and three seats on the McKinney ISD board of trustees will also be up for election. For more information about the proposed airport expansion, visit www.fly-mckinney.com. For information about the upcoming election, visit www.mckinneytexas.org/139/elections.