Airport construction projects totaling $15,919,332 will soon commence across the state following a recent announcement of funding by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The fourteen grants for Oklahoma airports were announced by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
The FAA funding that was a part of the announcement is a mixture of FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and CARES Act funding. It will be used for a variety of critical infrastructure and safety projects across the state which will include constructing and repairing runways and taxiways, installing airport lighting and signage, conducting airport master plan studies and installing perimeter fencing.
The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s (OAC) Five-Year Airport Construction Program directs where a majority of the federal funding is spent at General Aviation (GA) airports throughout Oklahoma. This process allows for prudent infrastructure investment and ensures that Oklahoma’s GA airports have the opportunity to take advantage of federal funding opportunities as they arise.
“These grants are critical to the success of our airport infrastructure and driving Oklahoma to be a Top Ten state in aviation and aerospace,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “Both nationally and globally, businesses are taking an increased notice in Oklahoma’s industry-friendly environment and pioneering spirit. As we continue to develop our reputation as a fly-to state, this new investment will allow us to invest in critical infrastructure and actively improve our state’s transportation assets with the future of our state, industry and people in mind.”
The largest grant included in this announcement is a $3.2M project for runway rehabilitation at Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport and is expected to begin in October. The Lawton – Ft. Sill Regional Airport has served the Southwestern Oklahoma region since 1950 providing air transportation for the citizens of Comanche County and surrounding areas as well as Fort Sill. The airport has an annual economic impact of $55M and several companies such as EZ GO, Dillard’s, Goodyear, Republic Paper, and Bar S use the airport to oversee operations they have in the area.
Ardmore Downtown Executive is slated to receive just over $1.7M to install LED runway lighting, repair the runway pavement, and reconstruct a portion of the parallel taxiway. The airport has an annual economic impact of $6M and several companies such as the Noble Foundation, DOT Foods, and AirEvac Lifeteam use the airport.
In June, the Bristow Jones Memorial Airport opened a new 4,000-foot runway. Building on that, a new grant will now allow planners to focus on turning the old runway into a parallel taxiway that will provide for the efficient movement of aircraft after takeoffs and landings. Total project cost is $2.7M and construction is set to begin this fall.
“As a pilot myself, I know how important maintaining and upgrading Oklahoma’s airports are to the well-being and economic growth of our state,” U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe said. “Airports are key to economic development in local communities and this announcement of nearly $16 million in funding to invest in Oklahoma’s airports is critical right now. The Trump administration continues to bring relief to Oklahoma communities during these trying times and I look forward to seeing all of the benefits that will come from these important federal investments in Oklahoma.”
Ponca City Regional will also begin a project to reconstruct their runway this month. The $1.1M grant that was announced is just a piece of the larger $7.5M project that is one of the biggest single-phase GA airport project ever had in Oklahoma. Pavement removal and replacement will be the biggest part of the project, but construction crews will also grade off to the sides of the runway to help with drainage and flooding issues, and runway lighting equipment and signage will be replaced. The airport has a $10M annual economic impact to the area.
Mid-America Industrial Airport in Pryor will extend their taxiway for $1.4M, and Seminole Municipal will reconfigure their existing taxiway with an $800K grant. Skiatook Municipal will reconstruct their entire runway with a grant for $2M.
“Bringing these federal transportation dollars to our airports will help relieve the burden that our aging infrastructure has within the Oklahoma Airport System. Aeronautics has done an amazing job directing the federal funding and matching that with the limited state funds they have, but these grants will strengthen their efforts to improve Oklahoma’s system,” Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz said. “Regional airports connect communities to commerce, and the cities receiving grant funds will be able to leverage these improvements to create job growth and opportunity.”
“This year has been unprecedented. Though airlines and air transportation are experiencing a setback due to the pandemic, the public will begin flying again at pre-COVID levels in the years to come. Just because air transportation is experiencing a downturn, our airport infrastructure does not stop deteriorating. It is wise that we continue investing in our air transportation system so that Oklahoma is positioned to not only recover successfully, but to flourish over the next decade because of our airport investments we are making this year. Reliable and safe access to the state and national aviation systems is critical to communities across the state for their economies and medical well-being of their citizens,” said state director of Aeronautics, Victor Bird.
Commission staff will make routine site visits to the projects as well as attend progress meetings with the contractor/engineer and will update the public through social media and other traditional media outlets. The public can receive those updates on Facebook @okaeronauticscommission.
- Ardmore Downtown Executive $1,776,226 Install Runway Lighting, Rehabilitate Runway, Rehabilitate Taxiway
- Jones Memorial (Bristow) $2,722,222 Reconstruct Taxiway
- Carnegie Municipal $266,666 Install Perimeter Fencing, Install Taxiway Lighting
- Fairview Municipal $37,400 Construct Taxiway
- Hollis Municipal $816,666 Rehabilitate Apron, Rehabilitate Taxiway
- South Grand Lake (Ketchum) $496,803 Construct/Modify/Improve/Rehabilitate Hangar
- Lawton‐Fort Sill Regional $3,274,251 Rehabilitate Runway
- State of Oklahoma $221,814 Update State/Regional System Plan or Study
- Various Locations/Oklahoma $340,000 Construct/Extend/Improve Safety Area, Rehabilitate Runway/Taxiway
- Ponca City Regional $1,118,764 Rehabilitate Runway
- Mid‐America Industrial (Pryor) $1,403,758 Extend Taxiway
- Seminole Municipal $816,172 Shift or Reconfigure Existing Taxiway
- Skiatook Municipal $2,000,000 Rehabilitate Runway
- Thomas Municipal $628,590 Construct Apron, Construct Taxiway