While I haven’t been there yet, the photos and comments about it reveal a truly magnificent building that we should all be proud of, but as this editorial from the Sacramento Bee notes, the bottom line is important.
“The new Central Terminal B is one impressive building, bringing a "wow" factor to Sacramento International Airport.
“It is also the most expensive public works project in local history, adding $950 million to the airport's credit card.
“Officials better hope that the thousands who traipsed through the terminal for a look-see over the weekend will return as paying customers once it opens for business on Thursday.
“Travelers are supposed to repay one-third of the debt through the existing $4.50 surcharge on every plane ticket; those who park at the airport will pay more. Airlines will fork over rent and landing fees, which more than doubled. Restaurants, concessionaires and car rental companies will also help pay the freight.
“Whether all those fees will be enough depends on how many people use the airport and on the broader state of the economy.
“Boardings dipped every year during the recession and the airport has lost flights. It would certainly help if more residents fly in and out of Sacramento instead of San Francisco and Oakland.
“As The Bee's Tony Bizjak reported a week ago Sunday, the new terminal's first five years will be crucial. By 2014, the airport's projected revenue, once operating costs are deducted, will be only 14 percent more than the required debt payment. That's a far thinner margin than the 33 percent typical for airports of Sacramento's size.”