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Nearly $1M in state grants for 23 airports to improve pavement, safety

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Date:  Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Contact: Eric Johnson, WSDOT airport construction project manager, 360-651-6303

ARLINGTON – Takeoffs and landings will be smoother and safer thanks in part to nearly $1 million in state grants recently awarded to 23 Washington airports.

The grants will fund 29 different airport projects, 86 percent of which will improve pavement. The Washington State Department of Transportation places a priority on maintaining airport pavements to preserve facilities and improve aviation safety.

Every year, WSDOT’s aviation division awards grants through its Airport Aid Grant Program. This is the second round of grants issued during the 2011-2013 biennium.

State grants, combined with local matching contributions, enabled WSDOT’s aviation division to leverage about $32 million in federal grants for federally-funded airports. Of the state’s 137 public-use airports, 66 are eligible for federal funds. The remaining 71 rely solely on state and local funds.

“It’s a strength of our grant program that we are able to use a relatively small amount of state dollars to leverage millions in federal funds,” said Tristan Atkins, WSDOT aviation director. “It allows us to make a bigger impact with limited resources.”

Thirty-nine airports competed for grants during this round, requesting a total of about $4 million. WSDOT is typically able to fund about $1 million in Airport Aid Grants every year. The grant program is funded by a user fee of 11 cents per gallon of aviation fuel, along with aircraft registration fees.

WSDOT plans to call for applications for the first round of 2013-2015 biennium grants in March and April 2013. Awards for that round should be announced by July 2013.

Learn more about the 2012 Airport Aid Grant awards.

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