OKLAHOMA CITY – Last week, during its regularly scheduled meeting in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission approved its three-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP), which includes a project to extend the runway and parallel taxiway system at Enid’s Woodring Regional Airport from 5,600 feet to 8,000 feet.
The Commission’s investment in the Enid runway and taxiway project – perhaps as much as $2.5 million – would represent the state’s largest ever for an airport project, Commission officials said. The City of Enid will be responsible for providing the remaining approximately $2.9 million of an estimated project cost of $5.4 million, which may include $450,000 in federal funds.
“Enid has justified an extension to 7,100 feet based upon civil aviation demand. If we extend it another 900 feet, Enid Woodring can accommodate the T-38 Air Force trainer, in addition to the T-1s and T-6s from Vance Air Force Base that already use the Enid airport as an alternative runway,” said Aeronautics Director Victor Bird.
As is the case with most areas in the state that have military installations, Vance Air Force Base, which provides 5,575 direct and indirect jobs, is the largest employer in the Enid area. It contributed $250 million to the state’s economy in 2010.
Vance, along with four other military installations in the state – Tinker Air Force Base, Fort Sill, Altus Air Force Base and the McAlester Ammunition Depot – provide 133,800 direct and indirect jobs. Those installations had a $9.6 billion impact on Oklahoma’s gross domestic product in 2010, or 7 percent of the state’s economy.
Director Bird said that Vance needs an alternate runway at Enid Woodring that can accommodate the T-38s. Although the Commission’s focus is primarily on civil aviation, he said it has the discretion to consider a military aviation need. And due to good financial management, the Commission has the funding available to meet that need.
“It is critical that we send a message to those who may oversee another Base Realignment and Closure process,” Director Bird said, “similar to the one the citizens of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma City and the state sent when the General Motors plant was acquired with public funding and provided to Tinker Air Force Base.”
Director Bird said providing the GM plant to Tinker for its use may be the most significant reason that Tinker will now be the site for the Air Force Sustainment Center. The new designation will place Tinker over all three logistic centers in the Air Force. In addition to Vance, there are two other pilot training bases in the Air Force, which, according to Director Bird, will put Vance in the best light possible.
“I am certain that we would never want to look back and say what if we had done that extra 900 feet to make this an 8,000-foot runway. I know this is a difficult proposition, four times larger than any other state-funded project in history, but it’s the right thing to do,” Director Bird said.
“Our state’s military installations are crucial to the security of our nation and make an enormous contribution to our state’s economy. I am very pleased by the Commission’s action for our state, the Enid area and Vance Air Force Base,” said Gov. Mary Fallin.
Sen. Jim Inhofe said, “Our state has never lost one of our military installations in a BRAC round. The reason for that is the unrivaled support of our state and communities for the military. This is another outstanding example of this support, and I’m very proud of the Commission and our state.”
Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley echoed Director Bird’s sentiments and said, “This is the right thing for the state and the Commission to do, and I’m very pleased that we stepped up and met this challenge.”
The Commission voted unanimously to include the project in its Capital Improvement Program.
Projects at 21 different airports comprise the newly approved CIP. More than $43 million in state and federal funds have been identified for those projects.
Besides Woodring Regional Airport, other airports in the 2012-2014 CIP include :
Ardmore Municipal Airport for a $1.6 million project to repair portions of the airport’s drainage system.
Chattanooga Sky Harbor Airport for a $389,000 project to rehabilitate the runway, taxiway, taxilanes and portions of the main apron.
C.E. Page Municipal Airport in Oklahoma City for a $1.8 million project to install taxiway lights and airport signage, reconstruct part of the secondary runway and conduct various other runway and taxiway improvements.
Clinton Regional Airport for a $389,000 project to crack seal the runway and taxiways, and rehabilitate the main apron.
David J. Perry Airport in Goldsby for $1.3 million to add a parallel taxiway.
Davis Field in Muskogee for a $2.3 million project to rehabilitate the parallel taxiway and $1 million to build a new terminal.
Fairview Municipal Airport for a $556,000 project to extend the airports runway almost 900 feet.
Grove Municipal Airport for a $1 million project to construct a new terminal building and $2.9 million to add a partial parallel taxiway system and aircraft parking apron.
Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport for a $1.5 million project to add taxilanes for hangar development, install taxiway lights, rehabilitate the taxiway and install a new visual approach device.
Guymon Municipal Airport for a $444,000 project to rehabilitate taxiways, taxilanes and aprons serving the T-hangar development area.
McCurtain County Regional Airport in Idabel for $4.1 million to add a parallel taxiway system.
Miami Municipal Airport for a $3.2 million project to rehabilitate the runway and extend the parallel taxiway.
OU-Max Westheimer Airport in Norman for a $2.6 million project to rehabilitate runway 3/21.
Pauls Valley Municipal Airport for a $2.5 million project to add a parallel taxiway and remove pavement.
Pawhuska Municipal Airport for a nearly $389,000 project to rehabilitate the runway and connecting taxiway.
Perry Municipal Airport for a nearly $444,000 project to overlay the runway with asphalt.
Richard L. Jones Airport in Tulsa for a $3.6 million project to upgrade the airfield signage, install various approach devices and lighting equipment for the airport’s two main runways, and relocate the airport beacon.
Seminole Municipal Airport for a $2.4 million project to rehabilitate the runway, taxiway and main apron pavements.
West Woodward Airport for a $2.3 million project to rehabilitate a portion of the main apron and taxilane to the hangar area and replace the excising runway lighting system, as well as $444,000 to rehabilitate the crosswind runway, taxiway and taxilane that serve the T-hangar development area.
William R. Pogue Municipal Airport in Sand Springs for a $3.3 million project to rehabilitate runway, taxiway and apron pavements as well as add a taxilane for hangar development.
The CIP is the planning and programming document that the Aeronautics Commission uses to coordinate and develop various capital improvements at local airports. It allows the Commission, airport sponsors – typically the city or communities where the airport is located – and federal officials to anticipate future airport funding. It does not guarantee future funding, however, as state and federal funding levels may change from year to year.