(The Center Square) – Nearly 80% of Polk County, Iowa voters said yes to a bond measure to fund a new terminal at the Des Moines International Airport.
The approval clears the way for the Polk County Board of Supervisors to secure a bond of up to $350 million for the project. The airport will pay back the bond’s principal and interest from its revenues, the board said.
“Issuing the sale of bonds would allow the Des Moines Airport Authority to achieve the lowest cost of capital for the project,” the board said in a news release before agreeing to put the bond issue on the ballot. “Leveraging Polk County’s bond rating would result in potential savings of up to $70 million over the life of the loan, ensuring the airport remains operationally competitive with existing and prospective airlines.
The estimated project cost is $445 million. Local communities are contributing more than $28 million, according to the authority.
Nearly 62,000 voters approved of the bond measure, according to election results. Nearly 16,000, just over 20%, voted against the measure.
The airport authority thanked voters in a social media post.
“It’s a historic evening as voters of Polk County voiced their support of the Lift DSM Terminal Project,” the authority posted. “It took a village of leaders at all levels – public and private – and supporters to make this happen.”
State officials joined the airport authority in a groundbreaking last month. The project will add 18 gates and could increase air traffic into Iowa’s largest city by 50%, the authority said. The targeted opening date for the new terminal is late 2026.
The airport’s passenger count is up by 9.8%, with more than 2.3 million people passing through the airport in the first nine months of this year, according to the September traffic statistics.