Thursday, March 10, 2016

Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport (KDIK) considers funding challenges, runway repairs

Dickinson Airport Authority Commissioner Bob Zent, left, looks on as Kelly Braun, the manager of Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport, addresses the commission at a regular meeting Thursday at the airport. 

The state of future projects was one of the main topics discussed at a regular meeting Thursday of the Dickinson Airport Authority.

Braun said he attended the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium that was held Tuesday in Bismarck, where he heard once more that the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission would not have much funding to give away this year. This is due to a $4.5 million decrease from an expected $5.8 million for state airport projects as a result of a decrease in oil tax revenue in the state.

“There is money trickling in,” Braun said, adding that the aeronautics commission’s conservative estimates for available money to give were being met and somewhat exceeded.

But he said the general message from the commission to all airports in the state was to not plan for any major projects in the near future that do not have funding already secured.

The Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport is in the midst of planning a years-long renovation that would eventually result in a new terminal building and a replacement of its deteriorating runway, which has developed cracks as a result of the formerly heavy traffic brought by the oil boom.

However, it was projected last month and reiterated Thursday that, in light of the aeronautics commission’s situation, that project will likely have to be delayed by at least a year.

“At this point, we’re not in a bad situation,” Braun said, explaining that they hadn’t found themselves stuck in the middle of any projects.

He said the airport would likely wait until an environmental assessment for the future project would be completed, and then wait until more funding possibly became available in the next legislative biennium.

In the meantime, the airport needs to temporarily fix its runway to hold it over until the renovation is undertaken. Braun said he was in favor of doing a crack repair using mastic.

This project would cost $3 million, with $2 million secured in grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration and $1 million from entitlements of the airport.

Braun said they had larger chunks of weekly time to undertake the repairs since the departure of flight traffic from Delta, which stopped service at the airport in December due to low boarding numbers.

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