Year in Review: Port, airport see major developments - Brownsville Herald: Local News

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Year in Review: Port, airport see major developments

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, December 30, 2019 9:00 pm

It’s been a momentous year for the Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport and the Port of Brownsville.

Although the airport’s new terminal building project broke ground three years ago, the visible structure began to rise from the ground earlier this year and is scheduled for completion the fourth quarter of 2020.

In September, a “topping out” ceremony was held for the 91,000-square-foot, $43.8 million project, as the new terminal’s final steel beam was hoisted into place. The existing terminal, built in 1971, will be demolished once the new building is complete.

Airport Director Bryant Walker said a new terminal is long overdue in part because the old gate area can’t handle the type of aircraft low-cost carriers fly nowadays, making it nearly impossible to attract new airline service. The gate area only accommodates 168 people, whereas aircraft typically flown by discount carriers can hold around 185 passengers, he said.

“So just from the fire code, we can’t even operate one of those aircraft at a time, let alone operate the two gates that we have in the current terminal,” Walker said, adding that the current terminal is also out of compliance with modern safety regulations.

Officials with the Port of Brownsville were buoyed by news from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the agency had granted final approval to three liquefied natural gas export terminal projects proposed for the port.

Although the LNG projects are staunchly opposed by environmentalists, port officials argue that construction and operation of the facilities will result in a significant economic boost for the port, Brownsville and the region. Final Investment Decisions on whether to proceed with the projects are expected from the three companies sometime early 2020.

The largest of the three projects, NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG, capable of producing 27 million tons of LNG a year when fully developed, could be operational as soon as late 2023, according to the company.

Natural gas would be transported via pipeline from the Agua Dulce hub in Nueces County, the gas originating from the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, then liquefied through a super-chilling process and loaded onto special vessels for export to foreign markets.

And while nothing is final, the head of an Arkansas-based steel mill has made it clear the port is where the company wants to build its second flat-rolled steel mill. CEO David Stickler told an industry publication in mid-October that Brownsville is the preferred site, though not the only site it’s considering.

On the other hand, BRS is “aggressively ramping up efforts for a second flat-rolled mill in Brownsville,” Stickler said, noting that the company had formed Brownsville Investment Group LLC in order to get the project off the ground. BRS signed a lease option for 800 acres on the Brownsville Ship Channel in April 2018. The company’s first mill, in Osceola, Ark., began operations in early 2017.

sclark@brownsvilleherald.com

Follow us on Facebook

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Online Features

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>