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Tue, Jun 02, 2009

Big Bucks: $11 Million In Stimulus Money Slated For Iowa Airports

26 Facilities To Receive Federal Funding

The major recipient of the funding, as you might expect, is the state's largest airport. The Chicago Tribune reports that Des Moines International plans to use a significant portion of its grant money for land acquisition for a runway project that was started more than 6 years ago.

That new runway, which will parallel the airports- existing main runway, represents one of the "shovel ready" projects favored for federal stimulus money.The full cost of the construction is estimated at about 57 million dollars, with up to 95 percent of that coming from federal sources, according to the report.Airport spokesman Roy Crist said the new runway, which replaces one closed following a previous construction project, will allow simultaneous takeoffs and landings.

"The first effect is it will increase efficiency and capacity and the second effect is you increase safety because we can separate the smaller, slower planes from the bigger, faster planes," he said. "The FAA has agreed that we need to get that runway back."

An additional $2.4 million has been allocated for Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, and other, smaller airports have received funding for a variety of things like runway extensions, taxiway improvements, hangar construction, and general facilities improvements.Among those is one thing we'll never have to worry about at ANN HQ in Florida ... snow removal equipment. Iowa Senators Tom Harkin and Charles Grassley, a Democrat and Republican respectively, agree on the need to maintain the state's air infrastructure.

"Maintaining a quality airport is important to the economic health of a community, because the availability of a nearby airport is a valuable asset that can help draw new businesses," Harkin said in a news release announcing the funding.

"This funding will help improve safety and service at Iowa's local airports and help provide important economic development opportunities for the communities," Grassley said

General Aviation airports are also dependant on federal and state funding for improvements.The Iowa Department of Transportation reports state funding for nine projects at General Aviation airports around the state this fiscal year totaling nearly $1.5 million, as well as 8 commercial airport projects with a price tag of more than $13.6 million, and 22 "Airfield and Security" projects adding up to almost $2 million.

FMI: http://www.iawings.com/legislative/av_funding.htm

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