Pittsburgh International collects feedback on $1.1B airport project | TribLIVE.com
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Theresa Clift
Pittsburgh International Airport held the first meeting Monday to collect public input about a $1.1 billion airport-improvement project. (Trib photo)

Lawrence and Daphne Kichta said they were skeptical about the Allegheny County Airport Authority’s plan to rebuild its landside terminal for $1.1 billion.

“I thought tearing things down, like gates and runways, was maybe not a good idea, in case they need it again,” Daphne Kichta, of Bethel Park, said.

After talking to airport officials at a public information session Monday at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott, however, the pair said they were just about sold.

“I’m learning we’re not a hub,” Daphne Kichta said. “I’m still learning about it, but we don’t need to maintain what we don’t need.”

“They won me over,” Lawrence Kichta added.

Lucinda Harshman, a former air service director for the airport who retired in 2014, said she was impressed.

“Right-sizing is definitely the right word, not downsizing,” Harshman said. “Based on what airports are doing today, they’re not going to be large hubs anymore. It makes me proud to have been a part of the airport.”

Brad Davis, Larson Design’s regional director of civil engineering, agreed.

“I think it’s fantastic the airport can afford that,” Davis said, referring to the $1.1 billion price tag, which will be funded mainly by bonds. “What agency around here can actually do something like that and still be in the black?”

Participants, many from design and construction firms, submitted written comments, which will go to the Federal Aviation Administration, said Bob Kerlik, airport spokesman.

Airport officials are on track to submit the plan to the FAA by the end of the year, Kerlik said.

Airport officials are in the process of deciding how they’ll advertise bids for the project, Kerlik said.

The public can continue to submit feedback online through Nov. 30. The second public meeting will be held at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh.

The plan includes rebuilding the landside terminal so it is connected to the airside terminal, eliminating the need for a tram. The parking garage will also be rebuilt. The project is slated to be complete in 2023 .

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, [email protected] or via Twitter @tclift.

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