Airport Revenue To Fund Remaining Cost Of TUL Control Tower Project, CEO Says

A recent FAA grant adds certain funding to replace the Tulsa Airport control tower, as the airport waits on bids to determine the actual cost.

Thursday, February 22nd 2024, 6:06 pm



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A recent FAA grant adds certain funding to replace the Tulsa Airport control tower, as the airport waits on bids to determine the actual cost.

The airport is more than $10 million short as of February 2024, but it has a plan to get the rest of the money.

The aging control tower is an increasing maintenance headache for the Tulsa Airport, which owns the building, while it’s staffed by FAA employees.

The cost to build a new control tower keeps going up, but the airport CEO says the money will be there to get it done.

“Until we get our contractor bids back, the budget is still one of those unknowns, so we're looking forward to getting back some competitive bids from contractors” said Alexis Higgins, the CEO of the Tulsa Airport Trust.

Tulsa's airport tower is where air traffic controllers keep watch but the cramped and obsolete space is overdue for replacement.

That's expected to be $112 million, and the bids are out right now.

"Until we get our contractor bids back, the budget is still one of those unknowns, so we're looking forward to getting back some competitive bids from contractors," said CEO of the Tulsa Airport Trust Alexis Higgins.

If the bids match the budget, the airport will have most of the money, including a new grant just awarded by the FAA.

Higgins said Tulsa County, the City of Tulsa, State of Oklahoma and Federal sources have committed $96.5 towards the project, which includes $10 million in Airport Trust funding.

She said the airport hoped to be built without adding debt, but that’s a possibility if no other funding, or savings, come about.

With $96 million pledged, the expected gap is down to about $16 million.

The airport CEO believes money from fees and services at the airport can make up any difference.

"There will never be a time when we go and ask taxpayers to do these projects, we're going to fund these projects with airport dollars and airport revenue," Higgins said.

Higgins says no amount of maintenance can make the current tower fit modern needs.

"The windows fog up when it's humid and it's not ADA compliant," Higgins said.

The new tower will be twice as tall as this one, giving controllers a better view as Tulsa's passenger numbers continue to grow.

The old tower will come down once the new one is operating, which is expected to be sometime in the winter of 2026.

Related Coverage:

  1. Sen. Inhofe Requests $20M To Replace Nearly 60-Year-Old Tulsa Air Traffic Control Tower
  2. Tulsa County Commissioners Approve $13.4M In COVID-19 Relief Funding
  3. Tulsa Region Could Get $70M Federal Grant For Infrastructure, Economic Growth
  4. Tulsa International Airport Plans To Replace Control Tower
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