Project Hit By Delays, Cost Overruns
The FAA has agreed to contribute $43 million towards building a
new terminal at Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) -- which
should go a long way to reducing the sizable deficit in funds the
project has accumulated in the past year.
The funds, which still have to be approved by Congress, would
reduce the amount of funding still needed to cover the $228.8
million project to $15 million, according to current cost estimates
provided by Horry County to the Myrtle Beach Sun Times.
"I am completely confident that within three years we will be
flying out of that new terminal," County Council Chairwoman Liz
Gilland told the newspaper.
Gilland traveled to Washington, DC last week to discuss the
funding plan with US Senators. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, and
US Rep. Henry Brown. Officials are hoping the state will agree to
fund the remaining $15 million once the FAA grant is
"This is a big first step in making the new airport a reality,"
DeMint said in a prepared statement. "Together with over $80
million approved for I-73, the terminal will be another critical
piece of the region's plan to diversify its economy and create jobs
of the future."
Myrtle Beach is served by several airlines, including Delta,
AirTran, US Airways, Spirit, and Northwest.
The new terminal -- already one of the costliest projects in the
county -- has been beset by cost overruns and delays. The project
is currently on hold, after the city recently fired its original
architectural firm, HNTB Architecture Inc. of Washington, DC,
following an ongoing dispute over how much the contractor was
Still, the county and
city are hopeful the project is now within reach. The county is
currently appraising airport property that could be sold to raise
cash, as well as possible funding available from the TSA to cover
expected security needs.
Should the state not step up, the county could borrow the money
-- Horry County already plans to bond $70 million for the terminal,
and could bond the additional funds as well.
It is unclear, however, if the city council would want to put
the city on the hook for some much... especially as costs could
swell even more in the future.
The terminal project's lead contractor, Skanska USA, is expected
to prepare a guaranteed price for the county by midyear -- meaning
if costs exceeded that total, the county wouldn't be on the
But that was supposed to be done about a year ago, according to
"We need to continue to lock down the cost figures," County
Councilman Howard Barnard said. "We have a great estimate, but we
need to get that more firm."