Uncertainty at the Federal Aviation Administration is causing a bit of uncertainty at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
The airport is in the midst of a $1.2 million design of a new control tower, which will have a total project cost of $16 million to $20 million.
Airport President and CEO Rick Piccolo said about two-thirds of the total funding is already in place, but the airport needs the rest from the FAA to build the new tower.
“The only issue is the FAA reauthorization,” he said. “But I’m reasonably confident we’ll get the funding.”
Congress has yet to fund the FAA, which has put many airport projects on hold throughout the country.
The current tower was built in the early 1980s; Piccolo said it needs to be replaced.
It’s 85 feet tall and on the extreme northern end of the airport property. It could have line-of-sight issues if the airport goes ahead with construction of a new building planned for an aviation-related function, possibly maintenance.
A new tower would be about 140 feet tall and would be built closer to the airport’s terminal. The tower’s design is scheduled to be complete next spring.
Piccolo said that provides plenty of time for the FAA funding questions to be answered.
He hopes to begin work on the new tower shortly after design is complete. Tower construction would take about 18 months.