What would be one of Iowa's largest public works projects — the replacement of the terminal at Des Moines International Airport — now faces a higher-than-expected projected budget shortfall of $225 million, and the construction schedule could be pushed back by up to four years.

The Airport Authority Board sat in silence for several minutes today after consultants HNTB of Kansas City, Mo., dished out some hard truths about the plans to replace the terminal, built in 1948, and to improve related operations. A series of analyses showed the airport will need to draw higher support for the project if it is to continue as expected.

The board's work to fund the project — including plans to relocate small-plane hangars to the south side of the grounds — now includes identifying sources of an extra $25 million on top of the $200 million budget shortfall already eyed before the consultants' detailed look at space allocations at the terminal. Officials said it will take a combination of cost-cutting, higher state and federal aid, and new revenue sources to complete financing.

"It wouldn't take much for this to be a $550 million to $600 million project," said Des Moines City Manager Scott Sanders. Assistant City Manager Matt Anderson said the airport project — with the number of jobs involved and an annual economic impact — is a bigger deal to the local economy than the high-profile Apple data center planned for Waukee and deserves backing.

Continue reading to learn more about the proposed terminal. Full Insider story