The Press reported on Friday that the projected cost for a new parking ramp at Gerald R. Ford International Airport has been revised to $120 million. Consequently airport officials are thinking about nixing the ramp. They should. That's an incredible amount to spend for a parking ramp. Not only is the new estimate double the old estimate of $60 million, the old estimate was way out of whack.
As public parking enthusiasts know, the rule-of-thumb for the cost of a parking ramp in our region is about $6,000 per space. The airport ramp was designed to accommodate 4,800 cars, so the rough estimate comes out to $28.8 million. I can't imagine more than thirty million bucks worth of bells and whistles that pushed the estimate to $60 million, let alone $120 million. OK, they added sky bridges from the ramp to the terminal -- but at a price tag of $90 million!?
Besides, why do we need a parking ramp at the airport anyway? The plan for the ramp has been around for a decade now. In fact, it's been mothballed since 9/11 without any discernable parking problems at the airport. Granted, most of the open spaces in the long-term lot are at the far northern end -- but compared to major airports, that's not all that long of a hike to the terminal. Heck, at some big airports, the trek from the ticket counter to the gate is longer. And regardless of the distance, the point is that there are always plenty of parking spots at the airport.
Now, folks, I have no problem with the convenience an elevated parking ramp would provide for the one or two times I use the airport every year, but it's not worth the $120 million bond we taxpayers would have to back for it.