Federal, State, City Officials Cooperate For GA... What A
AOPA President Phil Boyer and a crowd of city, state, and
federal officials gathered at Venice Municipal Airport (KVNC) in
Florida to celebrate the reopening of the field's primary runway.
AOPA's Cessna CitationJet, N4GA, was the very first aircraft to
take off from the new runway.
Runway 13-31 had been closed since July for rehabilitation. Some
95 percent of the $4 million repair project was financed with funds
from the federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP), while the state
and city provided matching funds. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson helped
obtain the AIP funds for the much-needed refurbishment.
"People sometimes forget how important general aviation airports
are to the health of the community and our national transportation
system," Boyer told the crowd. "I'm so pleased to see city, state,
and federal officials working together for a GA airport."
Indeed, the cooperation on KVNC represents a big turnaround from
previous years, when the FAA twice cut off grant money to the
airport. Because of the lack of funds, the airport's main runway
had deteriorated to poor condition.
Remarking on the restoration of funding, the new administrator
for FAA's Southern Region, Douglas Murphy, told the crowd, "Were
glad to do it... We at the FAA will continue to work with you for
our collective success."
Ben Walker of the Florida Department of Transportation called
the airport a "shining example" of what a GA airport could and
should be, and he said the state was preparing to invest another
$2.5 million for more upgrades and the development of a business
"Everybody is a supporter of this airport," he said.
Venice Municipal Airport was built in the early 1940s as a
military flight training facility. The GA facility sits on the Gulf
of Mexico shoreline, less than two miles from the center of
The airport serves some 234 based aircraft and 165,000 annual
takeoffs and landings. The self-sustaining airport contributes some
$22 million in direct economic activity to the area.