LVIA proposed terminal expansion

Rendering of a proposed terminal connector at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – During its Wednesday night meeting, the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners approved acquiring debt for the authority that operates the Lehigh Valley International Airport.

The Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority will technically issue tax-exempt revenue bonds in one or more series up to $23 million to pay for improvements to various facilities located at 3311 Airport Road in Allentown.

"Primarily, it will be the entrance way for the TSA lines," said Commissioner Percy Dougherty, referencing the Transportation Security Administration. "They're going to be building a bridge over that area. It is the crown jewel of economic development of Lehigh County."

Earlier Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that LVIA will receive $1.7 million in state funds to continue a terminal connector and security checkpoint expansion as well as enhance terminal commercial development connectivity.

Other business

Commissioners also approved an agreement with Trinity Services Group Inc. to provide comprehensive food services to inmates and staff at the Lehigh County Department of Corrections.

Finally, the board discussed its plans to again hold in-person meetings.

"I'm going to slow-walk this process," said Chairman Geoff Brace. "Certainly there is an interest in getting back together, but we're not quite ready … the room we meet in is not really set up to accommodate more than 20 people."

Brace added his strategy is to return to in-person meetings in September. The county is currently in a state of emergency through August.

Commissioners also lauded virtual meetings, calling them a tool to enhance the government's transparency and interaction with citizens.

"I feel reluctant to even go back to in-person for the budget meetings in September," said Commissioner Marc Grammes. "I caution us not to give up the transparency that we have to the public … I think we should really think hard about the advantages afforded to the public with this format."

"The transparency we have gained is remarkable," Brace said about the virtual format of the meetings.

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