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Indy Airport Considering Parking, Shuttle Lease

Leonard Gilroy
September 18, 2009, 8:16pm

As reported here, the city of Indianapolis considering a long-term lease of its parking meter system, as well as several other proposals to enhance revenues from its 4,000 parking meters.

Now the Indianapolis Airport Authority is considering a long-term lease of its parking and shuttle operations (as well as more limited operational contracts) at its new passenger terminal in a effort to help address budget challenges brought on by declining passenger travel in the recession. More details from the Indianapolis Star:

Airport CEO John Clark received the board's approval to ask parking and shuttle operating companies to give proposals on their costs and details of the services they could provide at the Indianapolis airport. [...]

Chief Financial Officer Marsha Stone said at least three ideas are under study and could help the airport's finances.

LEASE: She said a long-term lease of the parking facilities and shuttle system could yield $350 million to $500 million in an upfront payment to the Airport Authority. The garage next to the new terminal cost $120 million to build.

In return, a company could lease the rights to run parking and ground transport at the newly opened Weir Cook terminal for a very long time, perhaps 40 years of more.

She agreed the concept is similar to the governor's $3.8 billion deal to lease the Indiana Told Road for 75 years and use the upfront payment for other immediate road improvements. [...] Stone also said that any deal could require a private operator to use the 100 airport employees already working in the parking and shuttle system.

PARKING AND SHUTTLE OPERATIONS: Another option would be to treat the parking garage and surface parking lots and the shuttle bus system like a concession and simply hire a manager to run the operation.

She said the vast majority of other airports in the Midwest of similar and smaller size than Indianapolis have a hired manager for parking and ground transport.

SHUTTLES ONLY: A third option could be to hire a manager just for the shuttle system.

The airport has a fleet of 20 buses to ferry people between the terminal, the surface parking lots and other locations on the grounds. Stone estimated the airport will spend about $3 million on the shuttle fleet next year.

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Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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