PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University and the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport have agreed on a contract that will open a 225-vehicle parking lot closed since Sept. 11 and give WSU police interns valuable experience.

Beginning today (Nov. 7), WSU police interns will operate a vehicle inspection program for those who wish to park in a long-term lot in front of the terminal, said Robb Parish, Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport manager.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration ordered airports across the United States to keep vehicles out of a 300-foot perimeter of terminals. All of the Pullman-Moscow airport parking was within that range. In late September, airport officials scrambled to complete an additional 50-car lot, but it had limited parking for travelers.

The FAA is now allowing vehicles to park in lots within 300 feet of the terminal if they pass a vehicle inspection to ensure safety.

“We had been looking at doing the (vehicle inspection program) for some time but the costs were significant,” Parish said. “We had just spent the money to get the parking lot built. Facing the expenditure of an inspection program at the same time was daunting.”

Contracting the services to WSU police interns will save some of the cost, Parish said, but the airport is also expecting some federal money back for both the inspection program and the 50-car lot.

The uniformed police interns will be available 90 minutes before flights to inspect vehicles that wish to drop off passengers in front of the terminal or park in long-term parking. Long-term parking costs $3 per day but the 50-car lot will be available for free for up to two hours. Drivers who do not wish to have their vehicles inspected can drop passengers off in the short-term lot.

The inspection program will last at least three months and then be reevaluated, Parish said.

For more information, contact Parish at 509/338-3223.