Five Arkansas airports have been selected to receive more than $3.9 million in funding for capital infrastructure improvements. The funds are coming as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s plan to award $840 million to airports across the United States for airport improvements.
Airports in Arkadelphia, Blytheville, Hot Springs, Pocahontas and Walnut Ridge will be receiving a collected sum of $3,990,359 in one-time and discretionary funds.
On June 5, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would be awarding the first round of funding in the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The first round represents $840 million in funding out of a total $3.8 billion allotment.
The AIP program was established by the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982. The funds that are allocated for the program supported by the Airport and Airway Trust fund, which is in turn supported by “user fees, fuel taxes and other similar revenue sources,” according to the FAA.
“This significant investment in airport improvements will fund construction and rehabilitation projects that will help maintain high levels of safety in U.S. aviation,”Chao said in a statement.
The largest Arkansas funding allocation was for Arkadelphia’s Dexter B. Florence Memorial Field, which is receiving $427,391 in entitlement funds. It is also receiving discretionary funding in the amount of $1,814,863. The funds for Arkadelphia’s airport are designated for the rehabilitation of a runway.
Blytheville Municipal Airport is receiving the single-largest entitlement grant in Arkansas. It will be receiving a $779,437 one-time grant, which is also designated for runway rehabilitation.
Hot Springs Memorial Field and Walnut Ridge are also receiving funding for runway rehabilitation. The two airports are receiving funding in the amount of $150,000 and $448,311, respectively.
Pocahontas Municipal Airport is the sole airport in Arkansas whose project is not runway rehabilitation. The Pocahontas funding –$376,357– has been allocated for the extension of a taxiway.
In total, the FAA will be awarding 432 grants for infrastructure projects at 381 airports in the U.S. The FAA estimates that U.S. civil aviation has a $1.6 trillion annual economic impact and supports 11 million jobs.
The largest amount of funding awarded by the FAA was more than $29 million in entitlement and discretionary funding for the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport for runway reconstruction. This is followed by approximately $27 million for Sacramento International Airport for runway rehabilitation.
According to the FAA, airport are eligible for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants if they are public-use airports that are publicly owned, privately owned but designated by the FAA as a reliever, or privately owned but has scheduled service and at least 2,500 enplanements. To be eligible, airports must be included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).
The recipients of AIP grants, called sponsors, can use the funds for “most airfield capital improvements,” according to the FAA, or rehabilitation projects and occasionally the construction of terminals, hangars or other non-aviation projects.
In May, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced that the Transportation Department would be awarding $779 million in supplemental funding to over 120 airports in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.
The funding was designated for infrastructure grants for 127 airports. These grants will allow selected airports to purchase equipment or fund construction projects that will “increase their safety, capacity and security,” according to a DOT announcement.
“This supplemental funding allows us to invest in important infrastructure needs at the nation’s airports, especially those serving smaller and rural communities,” Chao said.
See the full list of projects here.