If you want to get up in the air on a flight out of Central Oregon, you might soon have to pay more on the ground.
At Tuesday night’s Redmond City Council meeting, Redmond Airport staff presented a proposal to hike parking prices at the airport from the current $15 per day to $24 per day.
The current price has been in place for the past five years, but staff believes the rise in passenger numbers (115% passenger growth in the past 10 years) is a good reason for a change.
“Parking fees and the revenue that’s generated is one of our largest line items, and so we use it for all kinds of stuff,” Airport Director Zach Bass told Central Oregon Daily News on Wednesday. A third of the airport’s operating revenue comes from parking fees.
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“Specifically, I think the council and the airport would be putting quite a bit towards the new upgrade of the terminal that begins next summer for us,” Bass added.
The renovation is set to last from 2024 through 2026, with projects including a baggage claim expansion, east and west gate expansions, and a ticketing area expansion.
The 60% parking fee increase would be the same cost as the daily long-term parking rate at the Portland Airport, compared to $16 a day at the Eugene Airport and $12 at the Medford Airport.
Mike Fisher of Lake Billy Chinook returned from a trip to Cancun on Wednesday. Since he lives so far away, parking is his only option.
“For the distance that I got to drive and everything kind of makes it a no-brainer, really,” he said.
Fisher said he would still pay for parking even if the rate went up.
“It’s just the way the cost of inflation and everything’s going, so for me, I mean, if I have to, I’ll pay it, you know? Because I live so far away,” he said.
It’s money that some would rather put toward a taxi service.
Manager Christian Brigham from Redmond Taxi said he and his drivers make between 50 and 100 trips to the airport each day. They charge $7 for the first mile, and $3 for every mile after that, making a trip from Redmond to Bend around $50.
It’s a price they hope will attract more passengers if the parking fee at the airport is raised.
“I think it’s going to impact a lot on us,” Brigham said. “The increase that we see is a lot of people are paying so much for parking that it’d be a lot cheaper to take a cab from the airport to Bend, or airport to Madras.”
Airport staff will bring a resolution to the next city council meeting on March 28 for a vote on the proposed price. If the council approves the resolution, the new parking prices would take effect in May.