Paid airport parking scheduled for June 1
• Close-in parking will cost $8 per day.
• Parking in the 30-day lot will be $6 per day.
• Free parking will be available east of the rental car service station.
• Free two-hour parking will be available.
EAGLE — The Eagle County Regional Airport will charge for parking starting June 1.
The Eagle County commissioners unanimously approved a five-year contract Tuesday with Republic Parking. The contract also contains the option for two extensions of three years each.
Republic will install three kiosks at the airport. There, vehicle owners will enter their car’s license plate number and the number of days the car is expected to be on site, and then pay with a credit card. A 24-hour service line will be available at the kiosks for those who need help with the system.
NEW REVENUE STREAM
Eagle County Aviation Director Greg Phillips told the commissioners that he and the airport staff have been looking at all kinds of potential revenue streams, since the facility receives no general-fund money from the county.
The roughly $200,000 per year generated by the new parking system will help pay for maintenance and repairs at the existing parking lot, Phillips said. The paved parking areas are in need of work, he added.
“We kind of joke that there’s more crack sealant than pavement there right now,” Phillips said.
The money generated from the parking system can only be used for projects at the airport. But, Phillips said, that doesn’t include revenue guarantees for new flights. Money for flight guarantees can’t be generated at the facility and must instead come from other sources.
County voters will probably be asked this fall to approve some sort of tax to provide a stable system for luring new routes to the airport.
JOINING THE CROWD
Eagle County for years has been the only commercial airport in the state that doesn’t charge for parking. The first charges — $6 per day for long-term parking, $8 per day for close-in parking — are less than the rates charged per day at Aspen ($12), Jackson, Wyoming ($10) and Denver International Airport ($13). The airport at Grand Junction also charges $8 per day.
While paid parking is coming to the airport, free parking will still be available.
Phillips said a paved walkway will be built between the commercial terminal and a gravel lot just east of the rental car service station.
While the paid system starts June 1, Phillips said there will be a bit of grace period for people who have parked in late May.
“If you park May 29 and don’t come back until June 7 or 8, you aren’t going to get a ticket,” he said.
Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry asked Phillips to provide a few free handicapped-access spots near the terminal, and urged him to ensure the path from the free lot to the terminal is safe, but added she supports the plan.
‘PROOF OF THE FACT’
“The fact every other airport (in Colorado) charges is proof of the fact this revenue stream is needed,” commissioner Jill Ryan said.
Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney said she’s heard some opposition from family members to the paid parking plan, but added that she’s a supporter.
“It’s a matter of balance,” Chandler-Henry said. “To be fiscally responsible, this is a logical next step.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com or @scottnmiller.