Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
A rendering of the $1.8 billion terminal redevelopment project at the Salt Lake City International Airport. Construction on the project begins Friday. Courtesy image
Editorial: New airport launches a major boost for region’s economy

Huge benefits from new SLC airport.

First Published Jul 21 2014 04:52 pm • Last Updated Jul 21 2014 05:44 pm

Success breeds success.

Or it can create a bottleneck that drives everybody crazy.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Hope that Salt Lake City International Airport will be an example of the former and not — like, say, a great many highway projects here and elsewhere — the latter comes from news that construction has begun on a $1.8 billion project to replace the airport’s aging terminals and other structures with a new, less congested, more energy-efficient structure.

The good news is that the new airport will, once everybody lives through some necessary construction snarl over the next eight years, leave us with an airport that will better handle the growing number of flights to and from our city, as well as improve our cultural and financial connections with other parts of the country and the world.

The better news is that the project is being paid for by something that is about as close to free money as anything ever gets.

Like most airport facilities in major cities, the Salt Lake City upgrade is being paid for out of pots of money that do not, at least directly, reach into the pocket of the general taxpayer. The local share will be paid out of the taxes and fees charged to the airlines that use the facility, those who rent cars there, who buy aviation fuel there, etc. And the federal share, likewise, is largely a user-funded affair that comes from charges added to airline tickets, fuel and the like.

Those fees may be among the most gladly paid charges levied by any government anywhere in the history of the world. Airlines and their frequent flying passengers tend to know the value keeping airports up to date, helping to ensure on-time arrivals and departures and minimize the hours spent standing in line.

All that as Congress is incapable of figuring out how to pay for roads and bridges all across the country.

A consultant’s study ordered up by the airport has calculated a figure of $3.3 billion for the amount of money the airport work will contribute to the local economy, based on the economic truism that money spent on such things cycles through the local economy many times after it is spent on such things as worker wages and construction supplies.

And that doesn’t even count all the additional money that will be spent by the increased number of tourists and business travelers who will come from ever-more-further afield to work and play here.

story continues below
story continues below

Mayor Ralph Becker and the airport’s managers deserve credit for pushing a bold vision for this major boost to the city’s, and the state’s, economic engine.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.