DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — Polk County voters have passed a $350 million bond referendum to fund the Des Moines International Airport’s terminal project.

The bond referendum passed with over 61,000 people voting yes, which is about 80% of the vote.

Airport leaders said the new terminal is needed as the airport has seen increased foot traffic over the last several years and is running out of room. The project would add more terminals, eight screening lanes with expansion capability, more space for ticket counters, and other new amenities.

In September, the airport said it would pay back the full loan plus interest, and Polk County taxpayers will not brunt the cost. Airport leaders also said the bond referendum will save the airport an estimated $70 million.

Des Moines International Airport Executive Director Kevin Foley smiles as he receives the news that a $350 million referendum vote has passed.

The Des Moines Airport Authority shared the following release on news of the vote passing:

The Des Moines Airport Authority is delighted to announce the resounding success of Public Measure Letter A in the election. This measure allows Polk County to bond up to $350 million on behalf of the Des Moines Airport Authority, and it is expected to save an estimated $70 million in interest costs over the life of the loan. This tremendous show of support from our community ensures that the airport remains competitive and continues to be a driving force for the economic prosperity of central Iowa. 

The Des Moines Airport Authority wishes to extend its deepest gratitude to the voters of Polk County for recognizing the significance of Public Measure Letter A. This measure reflects a long-term vision for the future of our region, as it will not only secure the financial well-being and competitiveness of the airport but also strengthen its pivotal role in fostering economic growth for the region and state. 

“The positive outcome of this election exemplifies the shared vision of our community for a thriving and vibrant airport. We are eager to move forward with this financial support, and we are committed to using these funds wisely to enhance the travel experience and expand our airport’s services,” said Kevin Foley, Executive Director of the Des Moines Airport Authority.  

The Polk County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to issue the bond referendum in September allowing voters to determine whether to support this effort. The County’s higher bond rating allows the Airport Authority to build the terminal at the lowest possible cost.  The cost savings will allow the airport to be more competitive in courting airlines to operate and add service at DSM while positioning the airport for future expansions as demand necessitates. The new terminal will improve ticketing, security, baggage operations, streamline passenger screening, and expand passenger boarding capacity by 50%.   

“The Des Moines Airport Authority acknowledges the unwavering support and leadership of the Polk County Board of Supervisors who made this possible,” said Board Chair Jake Christensen. “We believe this victory is a testament to the strong partnership between the Des Moines Airport Authority and the community it serves. We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and will continue our steadfast dedication to maintaining the Des Moines International Airport as a key driver of growth and economic success in central Iowa.”