Free airport parking ending
by Carter Pape
The Times-Independent
Feb 07, 2019 | 948 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Parking at Canylonands Field Airport will not be free for long. According to Airport Director Judd Hill, the airport will begin charging a $3 nightly fee as early as March 1 as part of an effort to make the airport financially independent and less reliant on tax revenue.

“The goal is that the more money that we can generate from people who use the airport, the less money from general taxpayers we have to take,” Hill told the board during a meeting Monday, Feb. 4. “If you’re not using the airport, we want to have as minimal impact on you as possible.”

The Grand County Council approved the new airport parking fee in December. A budget approved at that time allocated money for the airport to obtain supplies like signs and a lockbox required for the system to be implemented.

The nascent fee system may one day evolve to look more like the gated systems used at larger airports around the country, but for now, a more primitive approach is being used to avoid significant upfront infrastructure costs.

Airport users who utilize overnight parking services will be expected to pay their fee by placing it in a lockbox located at the front of the airport. Those who do not comply will be towed.

Grand County Council Member Rory Paxman is the liaison to the airport board. He attended the meeting from Iceland via speakerphone and expressed concern that the payment system would require that visitors pay with either cash or check with no option to pay with a credit card.

Hill said that an ATM is available at the airport, giving visitors a way to pay for parking if they do not carry cash or checks. He also said that Paxman’s concern could better be addressed in the future if the paid parking infrastructure expands, for example, to use a gated system.

At the beginning, Hill expects to tend toward discretion in enforcement as airport visitors adjust to paying a new fee, by handing out warnings rather than towing cars.

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