SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe Airport is getting a new taxi lane in front of the hangars, one of many postponed maintenance projects the city of South Lake Tahoe has been tackling.
The cost is around $414,000.
Ahead of Tuesday’s City Council approval, there were some questions from the public about the cost of a new taxi lane in lieu of funds used for necessary road repairs.
Opened in 1959, the airport was purchased by the City of South Lake Tahoe from El Dorado County in 1983 for $1. According to a 2020 economic impact study conducted by the University of Nevada’s Reno Center for Economic Development, Lake Tahoe Airport not only accounts for $5.44 million in economic activity for the South Shore, but is also a hub for firefighters and military aircraft and is the base of South Lake Tahoe Emergency Operations.
There was commercial airline activity from 1958 to 2001, and the city decided to relinquish the airport’s commercial airport certificate in 2015 when they were unable to restore airline service. Since then, the airport has served as a general aviation airport. According to the UNR study, the airport was able to increase revenue by 5.67 percent from 2006 to 2018, while expenditure remained below inflation at 2.03 percent.
There are currently 70 tenants at the airport, including city councils, bars/restaurants, helicopter tours, a real estate agency, an engineering agency, a photography company and air ambulance services. These tenants have staff and contribute $8.98 million to economic activity on California’s South Shore, according to the study.
The airport generated $979,331 in revenue last year. With 26,000 flights a year, the income comes from rentals and fees.
The airport has an airport improvement program, if you accept federal funds you accept the funding guidelines, if you fail to comply you must return the funds. The city has received millions of dollars for airport needs through these grants.
Expenditures approved Tuesday come from the city’s general fund. Sometimes grant funding is available when maintenance projects come up, but that’s a very competitive process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), according to new airport manager John Dickinson.
The forthcoming rehabilitation project will include a 3- to 4-inch mill and fill treatment for each of the taxiways and will cover all inter-hangar taxiways and the taxiway delta.