It's time to stop talking about the problems at the Minot International Airport and get to to work on solutions. Approval from the Minot City Council to authorize funds to begin design work is the next step, and the council should move the project forward at its April 2 meeting.
Federal funds would cover the largest share of a new airport terminal, along with some state money and a local share. A firm cost estimate hasn't been made yet. Design work could start April 11, with actual construction beginning next spring. The new facility would be completed in October 2014.
A new terminal would be 100,000 square feet, or three times larger than the existing terminal. Engineers recommend building a new terminal rather than expanding the current facility. And perhaps more important, the new facility, which would be built east of the current terminal, would have three times as many parking spaces as the current terminal.
One downside? The current cramped parking situation isn't going to get any better until the new facility is built, but at least there would be an end in sight. Passengers won't be parking their vehicles in ditches and other odd places forever, and that's obviously a good thing.
There's no reason to think the airport won't continue to see increases in usage, as long as the oil boom in western North Dakota continues. Boardings have skyrocketed, which makes this project even more imperative. The sooner it can be finished, the better.