After over an hour of discussion and debate, the Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors agreed to move towards funding for the Pensacola Airport's Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Project. The proposal forwarded by the City of Pensacola had evolved over the past few months from an initial request of $135 million downward to $56 million.
At the June Triumph Gulf Coast Board meeting held in Pensacola, board members Don Gaetz and Stan Connally stated that they wanted to see this project brought forward and vetted by Triumph staff. Dr. Rick Harper provided an overview of the project and the economic impact this project would have on the region. Harper stated that the project would bring an additional 1,325 jobs at an average salary of over $44,000 a year. Harper also pointed out that this type of project will provide spin-off jobs that will benefit the region. Harper rated the modified MRO project as an 'A'.
City of Pensacola consultant Dave Penzone provided greater detail about the MRO project and answered a number of questions about outside sources of funding, construction costs and construction timing from board members. The issue of other sources of funding was one that board members had the greatest concern. The city's new proposal relies on funding from local, state and federal sources, some of which has not been approved yet. Penzone stated that they expected to find out about their request for state funds within the next 30 days but the federal funds request will take longer. The Pensacola City Council and Escambia County Commission will also need to provide funding that has yet to be approved.
Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward also addressed the Triumph board saying that this project is his highest priority for his remaining time in office and will continue to support the project even after his tenure ends in November. The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce also spoke in favor of the project at the meeting. The Chamber Board of Directors previously voted to endorse this project.
After hearing the presentations, the Triumph board wrangled with how to structure the payments for the MRO project. With outstanding funding requests still remaining, the board voted to give the city until the end of the year to secure additional funding for the first phase of construction. Once that funding is secured, the board will release funds in four tranches of $20 million, $20 million, $11 million and $5 million for the four phases of the project. This will reach the $56 million requested for the project. Each payment will be contingent on the other sources of funding being secured for each phase.
The board voted unanimously to move forward with this plan and instructed staff to work on the term sheet with the city.
To see the city's revised budget for the MRO project go to www.myfloridatriumph.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/120-Pensacola-MRO-Campus-Score-Sheet-7-18.pdf