- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel, in his State of the Parish address Wednesday, endorsed a proposal by the airport commission for a 1-cent, one-year parish-wide sales tax to help build a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.

Durel also wants voters to rededicate existing property taxes for the parish health unit and mosquito control that generate more money than needed, and add animal control operations to the mix to create a single public-health millage for all three operations.

The Advertiser reports (https://bit.ly/N7YOIZ ) the City-Parish Council will decide whether the taxes will be put on the ballot for voters to decide.

“One penny, one year, one project,” Durel said about the airport tax.

With council approval, voters will be asked to impose a parish-wide 1-cent tax on sales, with revenue dedicated solely to the terminal project. The tax would automatically expire after one year.

The airport already is at capacity with three gates, Airport Commission Chairman Matt Cruse told The Daily Advertiser. For the last six years, the airport has set passenger records and the forecast for 2025 is 40 percent greater than the capacity the airport is at right now, he said.

Other airports in Louisiana - Alexandria, Monroe, Lake Charles and Baton Rouge - either recently built new terminals or are in the process of doing so, Cruse said. Last week, New Orleans announced an $850 million new terminal project to add 50 gates, he said.

“We know this is about more than just flying to Disney World,” Durel told The Daily Advertiser in an interview Wednesday.

Many companies and individuals have said over the years that it’s very difficult to reach Lafayette by air, said Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

“It’s an all-day process and it requires one or multiple stops along the way, which inhibits our business development opportunities,” he said. “It’s always been about air service and not about the airport, but if the experts say that air service would be improved by a new terminal, I take their word for it.”

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Information from: The Advertiser, https://www.theadvertiser.com

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