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ROMULUS, MI-Wayne County commissioners have approved an $850-million bond issue to finance about 25 new gates at the new Northwest Midfield Terminal. The administrators at Detroit Metropolitan Airport are considering plans to rebuild the existing terminals.

The terminals are the Smith and Davey terminals, currently occupied by the dominant Northwest Airlines, and Berry International Terminal. When Northwest vacates Davey at the end of 2001, airport administrators are considering plans to either take out half of the straight, finger-type concourses tomake it easier on taxiing planes, or follow a new idea and demolish Smith and Davey and build hub-style concourses.

Wayne County administrators, who run the airport, believe it might cost at least $250 million to complete the renovation plan. The new bond issue, or a few dollars of added costs for every passenger, will fund the improvements.

All the airlines at Detroit Metro must agree to whatever plan is accepted. The existing terminal complex, which includes the Davey, Smith, and Berry terminals, was built between the 1950s and 1970s. Since then, the number of passengers who travel through Metro has increased by more than 500%.

In related news, state Sen. Burton Leland (D-Detroit) and state Sen. Bob Emerson (D-Flint) say Michigan Republicans are trying to arrange a state takeover of the airport, currently run by the county. Republican committees have held investigations into alleged corruption in airport contracts.

“A state takeover would create additional uncertainty which would cause the bonding agency to raise interest rates to the tune of an additional $40 million for taxpayers,” Emerson says.

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