To prevent its already scaled-back $1 billion airport expansion project from screeching to a halt, California's Sacramento County Airport System has raised $480 million through bond sales. Officials at the struggling Sacramento International Airport hope the cash infusion proves to be the wind beneath its wings for completion of a new central terminal building and an automated tram system. Plans have already been grounded for a new parking garage and hotel.
The Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday approved a measure requiring airlines to limit tarmac delays to three hours before passengers are allowed to deplane. D.J. Gribbin, a former Transportation Department official, says the rule will be easier to apply at some airports than others, and not all passengers will be happy when a flight returns to the gate. "The best interest is getting the passenger to the destination as quickly as possible," he says.
Bids for projects funded by the stimulus package are coming in about 15% below expectations, federal officials say. As a result, agencies are able to fund more projects. The Federal Aviation Administration, for example, will now complete 347 projects instead of 301 by using funds left over from low bids. Federal officials also noted that bids have started to increase; they were originally 20% to 40% below expectations.
Vigilant Solutions has canceled its preferred traveler program at Jacksonville International Airport that allowed members access to shorter security lines used by airline and airport personnel. The company had an agreement with Verified Identity Pass Inc., parent company of airport security lane operator Clear, under which the two companies honored each other's cards. However, Clear announced its closure last month.
Under new TSA rules published Tuesday, the same penalty guidelines will apply to all aviation industries, including surface transportation parties and workers with Transportation Worker Identification Credentials. The rules were ordered by Congress last year as part of legislation to implement all recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The rules take effect Aug. 20, and TSA will accept comments until Sept. 21.