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Denver officials are struggling to keep the "international" in Denver International Airport by landing $60 million in federal funds for a 16,000-foot runway.
Without new funding, an international runway will be delayed indefinitely, and the promise of significantly increased international service will remain unfulfilled.
The international runway -- so-called because it would allow heavier aircraft laden with fuel and goods for international markets to take off at Denver's high altitude -- had been planned as part of Phase I of DIA.
But funding has depended partly on how much was left over from the original $501 million commitment by the Federal Aviation Administration.
That commitment to Denver was reduced to $435 million when Denver assessed its passenger facility charge -- essentially a head tax on passengers using the airport. Any projected surplus is long gone.
Additionally, an agreement with United Airlines commits Denver to obtaining at least 75 percent of the funding from federal grants, despite the $40 million per year earned from the passenger facility charge. …