Trucks cutting through, heavy equipment have Northwest Arkansas National Airport board’s attention – Arkansas Online

HIGHFILL — Two committees forwarded to the Northwest Arkansas National Airport board a proposed budget for next year and discussed possibly regulating heavy commercial vehicles on airport property and buying their own heavy construction gear.

Committee members were skeptical but want to take the closer look at a proposal by staff to buy $1. 1 million worth of weighty equipment to do dirt work for projects upon airport house over the next five years.

Airport terminal staff contend buying products and bringing some of the work in-house would save the particular airport several million dollars. Renting tools as needed would cost more than buying it, they argue.

“We’re going to have the steady stream of function for the next five years or more, ” said Andrew Branch, chief operating officer at the airport.

Equipment might include a Caterpillar 926M Wheel Loader ($235, 233); a Caterpillar 325 Excavator ($317, 149); a Caterpillar CS11GC Soil Compactor ($174, 108); Caterpillar D5LGP Track Type Tractor ($382, 982); and a dump truck, estimated to price $235, 000.

Mike Johnson, who represents Fayetteville, and Jonathan Barnett, who signifies Benton County, were both hesitant, saying there would be additional costs associated with the purchase such as a lot more operators; maintenance and repair; accessory devices, such as trucks to move the equipment; engineering plus oversight costs. Both asked for more information before deciding whether in order to go ahead with the particular purchase.

“I just want to be sure that we have really, really adequately analyzed us doing this work versus taking it out for competitive bid in the private sector, ” Barnett said.

He also asked whether the airport has the manpower or skill set required.

“Basically, you’re starting a construction department, and there’s nothing wrong with that, especially if it gets projects done and it’s cost-effective, ” Barnett stated. “I don’t know that will we’re questioning everything, we just need a little time to digest this and look it over a little more. inch

Johnson mentioned he’s concerned the move wouldn’t provide the anticipated savings and could come with unforeseen costs plus problems, especially if function isn’t carried out properly on the front end.

“I want to make sure all of us go into this with our eyes open, inches Johnson said. “I’m suspicious. It’s not our core mission area, and it’s something that will have a huge tendency to bite us in the rear end. ”

Board members are looking at regulating large trucks to reduce damage in order to roads the particular airport owns, extend their own life plus reduce servicing costs.

Airport authorities have the same powers on their particular property as municipalities and the airport terminal has its own police department.

The roads on airport property are primarily for airport access for passengers, airport employees, concessions workers, vendors and others with business on airport terminal property, officials said. But rapid plus significant growth in Southwest Arkansas offers resulted within an increase in passenger and commercial traffic, particularly on Regional Avenue. The road has customarily been used by the general public as a north-south thoroughfare but has experienced a significant increase in industrial vehicle visitors unrelated towards the airport.

A proposal to limit the particular types of vehicles working on airport roads — and with exceptions for vehicles operating on airport highways for legitimate airport purposes such as construction, maintenance or deliveries — was approved by the Operations Committee on Wednesday and will go to the full board.

The proposal would certainly apply to automobiles over 26, 000 pounds requiring the commercial driver’s license to operate. Emergency vehicles would become exempt.

The particular move would prohibit commercial vehicles from using or even parking upon airport streets. A first offense might draw a $500 fine; subsequent violations would draw fines associated with $500 in order to $1, 500.

The Finance Committee forwarded a proposed budget based on estimates of 830, 000 travellers next 12 months, which is about the same as this yr. Passengers are usually up 49% over 2021 and only 9% below prepandemic levels inside 2019.

Airport terminal officials estimate $24. 7 million in revenue plus $15. 3 million within expenses. The airport offers about $45 million in cash available.

“I feel pretty good about where we are, ” said Tim O’Donnell, chief financial officer.

The budget includes $3 million with regard to ongoing land acquisition and around $8 million within capital projects.