The finish line is coming into view at the Kokomo Municipal Airport, where a $1.3 million federal award will bring a runway extension another step closer.
City officials said Monday the Federal Aviation Administration will fund site and electrical work at the airport this year, allowing contractors to level the land where the runway extension will be built.
Airport officials have been working for the past decade to extend the runway to allow larger jets to take off with heavier fuel loads, increasing the airport’s attractiveness to users.
The FAA has already spent about $8 million on the project, including money for land acquisition and funds to re-route County Road 300 East and level off runway safety areas on either end of the main runway.
The latest round of funding, which the city will match with $97,500 in local funding, will be used to prepare the runway extension area for paving, to upgrade a lighting system and to move a navigation antenna, airport director Frank Cade said Tuesday.
Poindexter Excavating, Indianapolis, Michiana Contracting, Plymouth, and Huston Electric, Kokomo, will be the contractors on the work.
“Expanding the Kokomo Municipal Airport’s runway enables our international companies to stay connected to their customers,” said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight. “The airport is a major asset for Kokomo as we continue efforts to attract and retain business and industry.”
In addition to passenger flights, the airport provides service to Chrysler, GMCH, Delphi, Haynes International, Target and Walmart, among others.
Airport officials took bids on both the site grading work and on the runway extension this year, but FAA officials decided to only fund the site work. Cade said he is hopeful the city can obtain the funding for the runway extension next year. That work is expected to cost somewhere between $1.3 million and $1.5 million, with the federal government picking up somewhere between 5 percent and 7.5 percent of the cost.