Runway rehabilitation next on airport’s to-do list

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(Posted Dec. 7, 2017)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Last week, the Madison County Airport Authority tidied up the final details of their three-year-long hangar construction project. Now, they have their sights set on another major improvement–rehabilitating the runway.

Bill Laney, president of the airport authority, said the plan is to start the design phase in 2020 and put the project out to bid in 2021. The estimated cost to rehabilitate the 4,000-foot long, 75-foot wide runway is $965,000.

Airport officials plan to cover most of the cost with federal funds. Each year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants the airport $150,000 for improvements. The airport can stockpile up to $600,000 at a time before they must use the money or return it, Laney said.

By 2021, the airport will have maxed out the $600,000. Officials hope to supplement that amount with a second-source of FAA money called discretionary funds. Madison County could be eligible for $261,000 in discretionary money, but these funds are not guaranteed, unlike the yearly distribution of $150,000.

If the FAA doesn’t grant Madison County the discretionary funds, Laney said the airport likely would borrow the needed money from the county commissioners, then pay them back with the new cycle of guaranteed FAA funds. The airport used this method of payment for the hangar project.

There’s a chance the runway rehabilitation could also include extension of the runway, which would allow the airport to welcome larger planes. Between now and 2020, the airport board will collect data on the size of planes that use the airport. The FAA requires proof that a need exists before it will approve a runway extension.

Should the data support an extension, Laney said the airport would lengthen the runway by no more than 400 feet. Any longer and the airport would take on a new classification, requiring that buildings on the grounds stand farther away from the runway.

The recently completed hangar project cost just over $800,000. FAA funds and Ohio Department of Transportation dollars covered 92 percent of the cost. The local share of 8 percent amounted to $66,440, which the county commissioners agreed to pay on Dec. 4, thereby bringing the project to a close.

Laney said eight of the 10 new hangars are occupied. The airport’s local revenues come from hangar rentals and fuel sales.

The Madison County Airport is located on U.S. Route 40 near State Route 38 in London.

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