Lafayette Regional Airport Commission
The Lafayette Airport Commission needed a strategy for constructing a new airport terminal. The original terminal was built in 1959 and was last remodeled in 1989. Since then, the number of passengers serviced annually has grown to over half a million. Studies project a 40% increase in passengers will occur by 2025. The current terminal, with only three boarding gates and already at 95% parking capacity, simply could not handle the growth Lafayette had been experiencing.
Funding for a large infrastructure project is no easy task. The price tag for a new terminal was calculated to be $90 million. TPG devised a multiple funding source approach, combining local, state, and federal funding opportunities with the internal bonding capacity and dedicated monies already at the Lafayette Regional Airport.
Local: We established the concept of a dedicated one-cent sales tax collected for eight-months, with no option for renewal. We devised a campaign strategy to appropriately educate voters, business community, and all stakeholders who could affect this proposition and advocate for passage.
State: TPG organized the support of our local delegation, as well as other regional members, to build a coalition. The $15.5M request, only 15% of the project cost, was reasonable when many other projects are asking for 80% of the total cost. We were able to gain the funding support through the state capital outlay program.
Federal: TPG held regular meetings with the FAA and Congressional Transportation Committee leadership, educated them on our funding process and requested the project be considered for related grants. In addition, we monitored the Federal Aviation Re-authorization legislation which is responsible for directing funding to airports nationwide and had the Louisiana Delegation pushing for an increase in our allocation. TPG assisted in obtaining over $48M in discretionary money for the project.
The new airport terminal is complete and has been operating for over two years with five boarding gates and the ability to add two more. The old terminal continued to operate during the construction suffering no loss of service. Our success has made travel in and out of Lafayette more comfortable and enjoyable and allows the Lafayette Airport Commission to attract additional airlines and flights to better service passengers.
The TPG funding model gained a great deal of traction in financing large projects. We have testified in front of various state and federal committees on our innovative and proactive approach.