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Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport parking lot project could be stalled by partial FAA shutdown

Press Photo by Lisa Miller The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport parking lot was filled with vehicles early Tuesday afternoon, so much so that many were parked in the grass. Airport Manager Matthew Remynse says the plans the Airport Authority had to expand the parking lot are in limbo as the FAA is undergoing a partial shut down.

The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport parking lot may be getting a new look this fall. However, a partisan stalemate has partially shut down the Federal Aviation Administration stopping airport construction projects and depriving federal coffers of potentially more than $1 billion in uncollected ticket taxes, after congressional attempts to reach deal fell through on Tuesday.

This, the same day as Dickinson Airport Authority members approved parking lot plans at a special meeting via conference call.

The objective is to expand the paved parking lot from 108 parking spaces to 166 to accommodate the increase in vehicles the airport has seen over the past four to six months.

The approximate $428,000 project is expected to last two and half weeks, Airport Manager Matthew Remynse said, adding the addendums discussed Tuesday morning may increase that cost.

Bids will go out Thursday, he said, adding he is not sure when the project will start because of the partial FAA shutdown.

The partial shut down will continue into September, according to The Associated Press.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., initially told reporters that he would be willing to accept a House Republican bill to restore the FAA's operating authority even though it contained cuts in subsidies for rural air service that some Democrats oppose. But he later reversed course after a possible deal with House Republicans had fallen through.

The Senate was due to leave for its August recess Tuesday. The House left Monday.

Airport Authority Chairman Jon Frantsvog said the parking lot is crowded.

"Right now many people are parking in the grass around the parking lot," Frantsvog said.

Remynse said the hope is to start the project in late September or early October.

Of the 108 available spaces, eight are used for rental cars, four for those with disabilities and 10 for employee parking leaving 86 for passengers, he said. When the expansion is complete 153 spaces will be available for passengers out of 166.

Secretary/Treasurer Craig Steve added he is excited about the expansion and hopes things go as planned.