2017-06-07 / Calendar

County matches grant to extend airport runway

BY BILL WILLCOX
COURIER-TIMES STAFF WRITER


The runway at the Person County Airport could one day be extended 800 feet now that county commissioners have approved a county match for a transportation grant. 
SUBMITED PHOTO The runway at the Person County Airport could one day be extended 800 feet now that county commissioners have approved a county match for a transportation grant. SUBMITED PHOTO County commissioners have voted unanimously to commit $1.1 million as a 10 percent match for a potential $11.2 million project to extend the runway at the Person County Airport.

The action came during a county commissioners meeting last month in anticipation of final approval of state DOT funding for the project by June 30.

Person County General Services Director Ray Foushee said the Airport Commission, in conjunction with consultant Talbert & Bright of Wilmington, have been working with the Division of Aviation and the Federal Aviation Administration on the runway extension. The plan for the Person County Airport, which is close to approval, supports an additional runway length of 800 feet, bringing the total runway length to 6,805 feet.

When the county started planning the project, the proposal was for a 1,000-foot extension.

“However, once all the data was collected to support our new master plan for the airport,” Foushee said, “that data only supported an extension of 800 feet based on the frequency and type of aircraft using the airport.”

He noted that the FAA supports the county’s need for the additional runway length and that it would be positive in terms of economic development and a boost for the cargo ac- tivity at the airport as well as having a positive impact on fuel sales.

The Kerr-Tar Rural Planning Organization submitted this project into the NCDOT Strategic Transportation Investments Program for $11,230,000. The final approval is scheduled by the N.C. Transportation Board around June 30.

In order to be considered for the grant, Person County was required to provide a letter of commitment for the 10 percent matching funds in the amount of $1,123,000. Foushee said $800,000 in funding had been earmarked for a future hangar at the airport. However, that funding has now been designated for the airport runway with the remaining funding to come from the County’s fund balance as recommended by county manager Heidi York.

The project includes the relocation of Cates Mill Road, which would be affected by construction, although the configuration has not yet been planned.

“There are multiple options that can be considered regarding the relocation/ redirection of Cates Mill Road upon approval of this runway extension,” Foushee said. “In any case, NCDOT will be heavily involved in this decisionmaking, upon project approval, and it is far too early to speculate on what they might do.”

According to the current DOT schedule, if the project receives final approval for funding, the construction phase would begin as early as fiscal year 2019.

Return to top