Saturday, August 27, 2016

Federal Aviation Administration grant amount for Boone County Airport (KHRO) soars above hopes

Boone County Airport manager Judy McCutcheon displays documentation showing approval for an FAA grant to help pay for an overlay of the airport runway.

Boone County Airport manager Judy McCutcheon said a grant for runway work was more than expected and will allow for almost all work to be completed this fall.

McCutcheon had told the Boone County Quorum Court’s Budget Committee that the FAA was willing to fund 95 percent of the project to overlay the runway, the first overlay since 1998.

At that time, she said the airport was scheduled to receive a little more than $2 million in a grant. Grant money comes from fuel sales and other fees charged to travelers in airports.

The Arkansas Department of Aeronautics agreed to fund the other 5 percent, or about $141,000, but that money had to be spent before the state agency would reimburse the airport. As such, the Quorum Court voted to loan the airport that money until the work is done and the airport would then pay back the county.

State grant money comes from a tax on airplane fuel sales, so people who don’t fly airplanes or travel much don’t have pay to subsidize funding from either agency, McCutcheon explained.

The amount of the grant would dictate the work to be done. Aside from the overlay work, they hoped to groove the surface and revamp runway lights as well, but that entire cost would be about $2.8 million.

McCutcheon said Friday that the FAA grant came in at $2,583,945 which is $542,945 over what was appropriated for the airport.

The unanticipated additional money will mean the airport will be able to groove the runway surface as hoped, although the runway lighting upgrade will have to wait until at least next year.

Still, she said, LED lights may be available by that time and the upgrade could be better than it would have been this year.

McCutcheon said the runway will be shut down for work beginning in early October and work is scheduled to be completed within 60 days. The 4,500-foot taxiway will remain open for daytime use during the project.


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