Airport authority to apply for FAA funding

WINTERSVILLE – The Jefferson County Regional Airport Authority agreed Monday to apply to the Federal Aviation Administration for funding to place an overcoat of asphalt over the existing runway.

The runway is being extended to 5,000 feet long and 75 feet wide with $1.5 million in state grants and $500,000 from the county.

Gary Folden, airport authority secretary, said the FAA won’t contribute money to the extension of the runway, saying the airport authority first must show a need backed up with increased jet landings or a jet based at the airport. But the airport authority said the more jet landings or a jet based at the airport won’t come until the runway is extended.

The FAA will only contribute to the asphalt overlay on 3,300 feet of the runway, Folden said.

Folden said the FAA will pay for $227,194 of the asphalt overlay. The estimate for the work is $400,000. The remaining amount will come from part of the $1.5 million in state grants for the runway extension.

The airport authority also approved a disadvantage business enterprise memorandum needed when using federal funds.

Folden said the airport authority has a goal for fiscal year 2014-15 to spend 1.7 percent of the federal money received with minority-owned businesses. But Folden said meeting the goal can be difficult for an airport because there are limited minority-owned airport engineering firms. He said there are only two certified disadvantaged businesses in a seven-county region only doing construction work.

He said the airport authority agreed to encourage minority-owned businesses to submit bids on work done at the airport.

The airport authority also agreed to apply for new instrument approaches when the runway extension project is completed. The instrument approaches will display the longer length of the runway on instruments in planes, Folden said,

The airport authority also is continuing work on the property inventory map as required by the FAA.

Local surveyor Vince Dowdle submitted a proposal totaling $8,015, but Michael Baker, an engineering firm working on the runway extension, also quoted a price of $23,748.

Folden said the airport authority wanted to review both quotes more closely to make sure both are comparable in getting the mapping done per the FAA requirements.

The airport authority scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. on March 18 to discuss it.

Folden said the airport authority also will review bids for aggregates in the runway extension project. The bids are set to be opened Thursday by the county commissioners.

Folden said the airport authority also will discuss a gas and oil lease on the airport property during the special meeting.