Who is eligible to receive WSDOT Aviation Airport Aid Grants?
Any municipality or federally recognized tribe who owns an airport that is open and available for public-use. Municipality is defined as any county, city, town, authority, district, or other political subdivision or public corporation of Washington State. Refer to RCW 47.68.020 and RCW 47.68.090.
Is there a limit on how large a grant award can be for any one project?
Yes. The maximum amount WSDOT Aviation can grant to any one individual sponsor in any one single grant is $250,000.
When is the deadline for grant applications for the remaining half of the 2009-2011 biennium?
Currently, WSDOT Aviation will be accepting grant applications through February and March of 2010. Airport sponsors can elect to forward a grant application at any given time during the year to be considered for the next round of grant award decisions.
When will grant award decisions be announced?
WSDOT Aviation expects to announce grant award recipients in April 2010.
Will WSDOT Aviation be programming all of its biennial grant funds in one year?
No. WSDOT Aviation typically tries to balance the amount of funds available for its Airport Aid Grant Program equally between years. Roughly one-half of the total grant funds available will be programmed during each year.
How much money is available to airport sponsors through the Local Airport Aid Grant Program?
Revenues for the airport aid grant program come from a tax on aviation fuel and certain aircraft registration fees. Since these fees fluctuate depending on how much fuel is sold or how many pilots and aircraft register, WSDOT Aviation anticipates funding approximately $1.8 million this biennium (two years worth of grants).
Is there a match requirement?
Yes. The local sponsor must contribute a minimum 5% match of the entire project cost. If the sponsor is able, and would like to contribute a larger match amount, they certainly can and will receive additional points towards their total project application score during WSDOT Aviation’s prioritization review of all grant applications.
Can the local match funds be in-kind volunteer labor and materials?
Yes. However, the airport sponsor will be required under state law to maintain certain records documenting the number of volunteer hours provided, labor value based on prevailing wage rates, cost or value of donated materials, etc.
Must a sponsor retain the services of a licensed professional engineer?
It depends on the type of project being undertaken. If the project will not involve construction in any way (e.g., preparation of an airport layout plan), then the airport sponsor will not need to hire a professional engineer. However, if the project is going to involve construction, preparation of plans and/or specifications, or inspection to ensure construction was completed according to plans and specifications, then, yes, the airport sponsor will have to retain the services of a professional engineer (P.E.). Further, that P.E. will need to demonstrate proficiency in the area of engineering being under taken and will need to be duly licensed and certified by the State of Washington in order to practice in this state. Refer to RCW 18.43, 36.32, 39.04, 39.10, and 39.12.
Is a runway overlay, crack sealing or slurry sealing considered construction?
Crack sealing and slurry sealing is considered normal, routine maintenance and does not necessarily require the services of a P.E. While a pavement overlay could be considered construction, the policy of WSDOT Aviation has been not to require an engineer for a simple pavement overlay. However, unless the airport sponsor has already developed a set of plans and specifications for such a project, WSDOT Aviation would highly recommend the sponsor retain the services of a P.E. to prepare these construction documents. It shall be the airport sponsor’s responsibility to comply with all applicable state laws for its construction project. If an airport sponsor is unsure whether or not they will need the services of a P.E., we recommend they consult WSDOT Aviation’s Manager of Aviation Services.
Are there any requirements in accepting the grant funds?
Yes, WSDOT Aviation does have a set of grant assurances that a sponsor must agree to abide by when accepting a WSDOT Aviation Local Airport Aid Grant. In general, the grant assurances require the airport sponsor to: 1) keep the airport open to the public and operating as an airport for the entire useful life of the project developed under the grant, 2) not enter into any exclusive operating or use agreements with any person, company, or corporation, 3) follow economic non-discrimination and civil rights laws and ensure that airport contractors and subcontractors follow these laws, 4) ensure prevailing wage rates are paid to project workers, 5) maintain detailed project records and make these records available for review, and 6) follow public contracting law for consulting, management, engineering and public works contracts. Should the sponsor fail to abide by any of these grant assurances, it shall be obligated for the immediate return of the full amount of all State of Washington funds expended for the project with interest. For a complete listing of WSDOT’s Airport Aid grant assurances, please refer to the Airport Aid Grant Agreement Form available from WSDOT Aviation.
What types of projects are eligible?
Eligible projects are divided into three major project type categories: 1) pavement; 2) safety; and 3) maintenance, operations, and planning (MO&P). Typical pavement projects include crack sealing, slurry sealing, fog sealing, overlays, reconstructions, extensions, widening or other alterations to the aircraft movement surface. Repairs or reconstructions to turf surfaces are considered eligible under this category. Typical safety projects include airspace obstruction clearing, runway safety area or object free area clearing, installation of wind indicators, marking, lighting, signing, reflectors, RPZ/approach surface land acquisition, NAVAIDs, approach aids, weather reporting, fencing or drainage improvements. Typical MO&P projects include weed control, grounds maintenance, vehicles and equipment (e.g., snow removal, tractors, mowers, etc.) fuel system installations, fire suppression systems, airport master planning, airport layout planning, and environmental reviews or documentation. The MO&P category also includes grant funding for security improvements such as flood lights, access control gates, surveillance cameras, and pay phones.
What types of projects are not eligible?
Airport Aid grant funds cannot be used to construct private hangars, or other private-revenue producing structures. Given that the development needs at airports across the state far exceed the Airport Aid grant revenues available to WSDOT Aviation Division, other projects such as terminal buildings, utility infrastructure and access roads are typically ineligible to receive state funding.
Can WSDOT Aviation provide any resources to an airport sponsor for planning and/or engineering?
Yes. WSDOT can offer the services of its design engineers, however, there is a cost for providing such engineering services and these costs must be accounted for as part of the total project costs under the grant. Typically, WSDOT engineers are accustomed to working on very large highway construction projects and it may not be practical, or cost effective, to retain their services on much smaller airport projects. Another option that WSDOT Aviation Division recommends is for the airport sponsor to check with their local county public works department since these departments can often provide engineering resources at a much more reasonable cost. Both the state and county options would require significant and early coordination on the part of the airport sponsor since these agencies typically plan their project schedules and balance their workloads far in advance of actual construction. A third option, that is always available to the airport sponsor, is the option of hiring a professional consulting engineering firm who has specific aviation experience to work on the project. This option probably has the most flexibility since the engineering firm is directly accountable to the airport sponsor. The costs associated with retaining the services of a professional engineer under any of the three options listed above are considered eligible reimbursable costs under an Airport Aid grant.