Transportation

Parking in the airport garage? It may cost more soon.

Sacramento airport is proposing a $1 parking rate increase
Sacramento airport is proposing a $1 parking rate increase pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Sacramento International Airport officials will ask the county Tuesday for permission to raise parking rates in the main airport garage by $1 a day, making the new daily rate $18.

That garage has been filling to capacity several days a week, typically on Wednesdays, a peak business travel day, but also at times on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as flights and passenger numbers rise, post-recession.

Airport officials say they also plan to post real-time parking availability information on their website this year, as early as summer, to warn fliers before they leave home if some parking lots have filled or are close to filling.

The system will be color-coded, green, orange and red. Officials say they are debating whether to include the actual number of available stalls at any given minute in each parking lot.

“The concern is that customers may not understand how quickly parking spots are claimed,” spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said. “On the other hand, it may be helpful for a business travelers to know that if (limited) spaces are available in the garage and the drive there is half an hour, it may be closed when he or she gets there.”

The proposed $1 hike would increase airport parking revenues annually by about $1.5 million, and would help pay for recently installed credit card readers. It also helps compensate for lost revenue from increased flier usage of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.

Rates would remain the same at other lots. The economy lot maximum is $10 a day. The main surface lot costs a maximum of $12 a day. A lot next to Terminal B, which is considered a shorter-term or hourly lot, costs a maximum of $29 a day for those who use it as an overnight parking lot.

The airport conducted a review of parking at other airports within driving distance of Sacramento, and concluded that Sacramento’s rates are lower than those at Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco airports.

The airport is a self-funded branch of the county government. It pays for its operations mainly through fees it charges the airlines, passengers, for parking and car rentals. The airport also receives federal government grants.

Airport officials also plan to announce this week they have negotiated a new lease agreement with airlines that they say will help stabilize the airport’s finances and make it easier for airlines to expand service here. The airport will present that agreement to the supervisors for approval later this month. Airport Director John Wheat is expected to discuss details of the deal on Tuesday.

Bird strikes pose a potentially significant hazard for planes.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak

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