That’s the reason, he said, that airports are lobbying to increase the maximum PFC allowed from $4.50 to $8.50.
But, if that happens, passenger would end up paying more. Airlines have resisted airports’ efforts to increase the PFC.
Another project, to add five additional gates to one end of Concourse T, will cost an extra $341 million, more than doubling the project's original budget.
The increased budget for the gate expansion project includes an extra $197.8 million in financing and interest costs for more bond funding. The project will also cost more because bids were higher than estimated. On top of that, there's an increase in "soft costs" for planning, design, testing, and project and construction management, according to airport documents.
A smaller project to reconstruct a taxi lane and ramp area will cost $23.4 million more than originally expected due to more pavement needed and higher pavement costs.
Hartsfield-Jackson is also seeking to use a greater share of PFC funds for a $318 million project to lengthen the Plane Train people-mover track.
Given the size of the airport’s $6 billion ATL Next expansion and modernization, airport officials “knew at some point” they would need to turn to bonds to finance projects, “just given the magnitude of the program,” Richardson said.
“Everyone goes through this,” he said. “At some point, you’re going to have to bond fund certain projects,” so there’s still federal funding available for other projects in the future.
For the four projects, the airport will apply for an additional $732 million in PFC funding from the Federal Aviation Administration.
On Wednesday, the Atlanta city council transportation committee voted in favor of the measure, which now goes to the full council for a vote.