AUSTIN (KXAN) — Plans for a 3 million-gallon jet fuel storage facility is drawing concerns from people who live near the airport.
Officials with Austin-Bergstrom International Airport said the project is necessary to keep up with traveler demand. Passenger traffic is up about 200% from this time last year.
The existing fuel tanks hold a two to three-day supply, while most airports hold a five to seven-day supply of fuel. An airport spokesperson told us it’s “Jet A” fuel, which is not nearly as combustible as gasoline. This project is part of the airport’s 2040 Master Plan that was approved by council and finalized in 2019.
Construction is set to begin on the project in spring 2022. The site is on U.S. Highway 183 near McCall Lane.
That’s where Amanda Carillo and Nessa Jimenez live.
“Haven’t really been given much information other than it’s going to be a gas storage facility,” said Jimenez.
At Thursday’s city council meeting, Councilmember Vanessa Fuentes, whose district includes airport neighborhoods, introduced a resolution requiring the airport to participate in community outreach meetings before construction begins.
“To make sure that we leave no stone unturned,” she said. “Residents living near the airport were not notified and didn’t have an opportunity to engage on the matter.”
Carillo said she first heard about the project in October, and when she asked her neighbors about it, they were surprised.
“It’ll be approximately 430 feet from our residence,” she said.
Residents have expressed concerns about air quality, long-term health impacts and odor.
Airport officials said the project has undergone the necessary environment assessment, and the FAA approved that assessment in April 2020.
Under the city council resolution, the aviation department has to come back to council within 90 days of the community outreach meeting to provide a briefing. Those meetings will take place during the planning commission and housing commission meetings. Dates are not yet available.
An airport spokesperson released the below statement about this process.
We are committed to working with District 2 council office, community members and our airline partners to develop a safe fuel facility that will meet our critical need for fuel supply to support the increasing growth in air service at AUS while ensuring environmental compliance.Austin-Bergstrom International Airport spokesperson