State Airports Receiving Stimulus Funds

Six Oklahoma airports will receive $16.4 million in federal stimulus funds.
Stillwater Regional Airport will receive the lion’s share of the $16.4 million — $5.9 million — to rehabilitate its main runway. Bartlesville Municipal Airport will get $3.9 million which airport officials will also use to rehabilitate its runway, while Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City will receive $2.3 million to rehabilitate runway lighting controls.
Other airport projects set to receive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding include $2 million for Okmulgee Municipal Airport’s first phase of reconstructing its parallel taxiway system; $1.7 million for Pauls Valley Municipal Airport to improve its runway safety area; and $600,000 for Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City to rehabilitate runway lighting.
Aeronautics Commission Director Victor Bird said that the FAA’s Southwest
Region office, which directly works with airports and state aviation
offices in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, only
received $115 million to distribute among the five competing states in the
region.
“Everyone thought that there was a good chance that the FAA would receive
an additional $3.5 billion to distribute to airports all across the country
as part of its Airport Improvement Program,” Bird said. “But when Congress
finally passed the stimulus package, the FAA instead got $1.1 billion. When
that happened, we knew that Oklahoma would get far less than what we had
originally thought or hoped for.”
In December the Aeronautics Commission staff provided the FAA with a list containing $51 million worth of “shovel-ready” projects at 11 general aviation airports that were eligible for stimulus funds based on the FAA’s requirement that the projects be designed and bid by May 1, Bird said.
Then in February, the Aeronautics Commission supplemented that list with projects from four additional airports which bumped the amount requested to $62.5 million.
“All of the projects were worthy of consideration. Unfortunately, the FAA
did not get as much stimulus money as they had originally thought they
would get, which in turn substantially lowered the amount Oklahoma would
receive. Regardless, we want to thank the FAA for helping our state improve
its air transportation system so that individual and business travelers
alike can be confident that when they fly to and from our public airports,
their safety is top priority,” said Bird.
Oklahoma’s three commercial airports that provide scheduled passenger
airline service — Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport, Tulsa
International Airport and the Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport — submitted
their own lists of projects to the FAA for stimulus funding consideration,
according to Bird.
The Aeronautics Commission is not involved in the federal funding process
for commercial service airports. It does, however, channel federal funds
received annually under the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program to Oklahoma’s
general aviation airports, including reliever airports Wiley Post,
Westheimer in Norman and Tulsa’s Jones/Riverside.



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