City council member Mike Chasse (middle) questions the ease of accessibility for people with handicaps at airport boardings and exists during flights for the Presque Isle International Airport project update at city hall on June 7. Credit: Paul Bagnall / The Star-Herald

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The City Council approved about $1 million of the $2.2 million it is willing to kick in toward a new $30 million airport terminal at Presque Isle International Airport.

Including the $394,300 Presque Isle has already spent for the design and development of the terminal, the latest decision brings the city’s commitment up to $1.4 million thus far. The final amount is expected to come from a grant.

The 80-year-old existing terminal was not built for the number of passengers using it today, making it necessary to build a new facility, according to city officials. Construction of the terminal is expected to begin in June 2024.

The two-story airport terminal design will incorporate designs from other buildings in Presque Isle, Bangor and Portland. Expansions and changes will be made to the bag checking and security areas, while the air museum will be relocated and expanded in the new terminal.

Depending on state and federal funding the city receives, Presque Isle will have to pay between $1.2 million and $5 million for the design fees and construction costs of the terminal building, Presque Isle City Manager Martin Puckett said.

The Presque Isle city council voted 5-1 Wednesday night to approve the preliminary design cost of $502,000 and design development of $541,100 for its latest installment toward the new passenger terminal. Presque Isle has already spent $394,300 for the design and development of the terminal.

Around 80 percent of the terminal will be eligible for funding through the FAA’s Airport Terminal Program as part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Maine Department of Transportation will fund 2.5 percent. 

The US Economic Development Administration Public Works program could fund up to $3.5 million with another $1 million from the Northern Borders Regional Commission grant. 

Council chairperson Jake Shaw was the only dissenting vote, saying the city’s funds should be reinvested into current infrastructure.

“I do believe it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I do not believe this is the best use of funds,” Shaw said.

Shaw didn’t fault any of the other city council members who supported the funding for the airport terminal project.

City council member Mike Chasse suggested making the airport terminal more accommodating for people with disabilities and older residents that have limited mobility.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to an off ramp as a physical structure that is part of the airport. It was referring to a financial tool that is a point where the city can stop the project from going forward if the costs are too high.