Designs Being Finalized for New Brownsville/SPI Airport Term

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BROWNSVILLE – Management at a Rio Grande Valley airport said upcoming improvements will make the place safer for aircrafts while creating opportunity for new jobs.

Sabrina Salinas was born and raised in Brownsville. The street artist said she moved out of the Valley last year.

"Now, I reside in Seattle, Washington but home is here in Brownsville," she said.

Salinas said what she's misses most about Brownsville is her family. We met her at the very end of her most recent visit home.

She told CHANNEL 5 NEWS she hopes the new airport expansion will allow her to see her family more often.

"I think it's a good idea just connecting families and connecting businesses, commerce everything," she said.

Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport director of aviation Bryant Walker said the upgrades to the terminal aren't simply cosmetic.

"(The) terminal also is going to be expanded. So, to do that we are going to have to build a brand new terminal,” he explained. “This terminal is undersized and it doesn't meet the capacity needs or the throughput of TSA and it doesn't meet the regulatory requirements of CBP customs and Border Patrol.”

Walker said the last several designs for the new terminal will be presented to both the city commissioners and the public to be voted on next month.

He said the airport expects to break ground on the new terminal next spring.

Twelve months after the completion of the new terminal, the airport plans to extend the runway by 2,600 ft.

"So, the runaway expansion extends the runway initially from 7,400 feet to 10,000 feet. The purpose of this expansion is to increase safety, both in safety areas around the runway – and the longer the runway the safer it is for the aircraft. He gives them more stopping space and more area to operate with in," he said.

Walker said the total cost of the new terminal and runway combined is estimated at approximately $85 million.

After each project is complete, the city expects to receive a reimbursement of anywhere to 80 percent to 90 percent of those funds from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Salinas said she is looking forward to seeing the growth of her hometown’s airport.


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