Tuesday December 19, 10:00 am ET
FLINT, Mich., Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ - Bishop International Airport's planned intermodal hub is one step closer to development with today's announcement by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation that it intends to provide up to $10 million for the project over the next several years. At a press conference at the airport, the Foundation revealed that it made a $2.5-million grant to the project this month.
An intermodal hub is designed to move cargo and other goods from one form of transportation - highways, rail, air or maritime - to another.
The $33.7-million Bishop project, scheduled for completion in 2009, will capitalize on the Flint area's strategic location along national and international trade corridors. Bishop, which already handles more than 33 million pounds of cargo annually, has direct access to interstates I-69 and I- 75 as well as two major railroad systems.
A key component of the new intermodal facility will be the increased connection between Bishop Airport and the region's economic development strategy.
The Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce, the lead regional entity for economic development, is partnering with Bishop to align the intermodal hub with efforts to foster increased job opportunities and economic diversification in the Flint area. The project is expected to increase the area's global competitiveness and maximize Flint's foreign trade zone designation.
"Bishop Airport has been a growing part of the Flint-area transportation system and economic base for decades," said William S. White, Mott Foundation president. "The Mott Foundation has had a long interest in spurring economic expansion in Flint and Genesee County by diversifying the regional economy, creating and retaining good jobs, and expanding existing assets. This grant will help build the economic infrastructure needed to accomplish these goals."
This is the third grant the Mott Foundation has made in support of the airport. In 1987, the Foundation awarded $450,000 to the City of Flint for the construction of an air freight ramp, which served as a hub for the airport's new Foreign Trade Zone designation and leveraged construction of 48,000 square feet of air freight facilities. In 1991, the Foundation provided $6 million to the airport authority for a $34-million expansion project, which included construction of the current passenger terminal. Foundation staff also served on several study and advisory committees in the 1980s related to the formation of the airport authority as well as airpark land use and master planning.
"Air cargo is one of the fastest-growing industries in America, because businesses seek to keep inventory on hand for as short a time as possible," Airport Director James L. Rice II said. "We needed to build the infrastructure to support what our businesses need to be economically successful."
Currently, because major cargo customers are over capacity at Bishop, there is little or no room for adding additional business.
In addition to the Mott grant, the project will be financed by more than $6.6 million in federal funding, $4.5 million in state funding and $12.6 million from the airport authority.
"Funding a large project can be difficult, and it requires the cooperation of many entities," Rice said. "This Mott grant is crucial in making our intermodal project a reality."
The intermodal hub, as envisioned by a 2001 joint transportation study by the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission, the Flint Area Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Department of Transportation, will provide for a variety of air/truck/rail operations as well as foreign trade zone facilities. In addition to improvements to the tarmac and ramp areas, the project will include:
- expansion and improvements to the existing aircraft-to-truck intermodal transfer facility;
- an intermodal cargo storage facility;
- additional truck docks; and
- construction of new access ways to West Bristol Road.
Bishop International Airport, dedicated in 1934, generates $189 million in business activity annually as well as $14 million in income and sales tax revenue. In addition, it serves more than one million passengers each year through seven commercial airlines. The airport, with a staff of 50 full- and part-time employees, is managed by a nine-member authority appointed by the mayor of Flint and the Genesee County Board of Commissioners.
The C.S. Mott Foundation, established in 1926 in Flint, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the U.S. and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Besides Flint, offices are located in suburban Detroit, Johannesburg (South Africa) and London. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. The Foundation, with year-end total assets of $2.48 billion, made 549 grants totaling $123.2 million in 2005.
For more information, go to http://www.mott.org/news/pressreleases/20061219bishopairport.aspx
Proposed Intermodal Improvements - Schedule