Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, along with Congressman Nick Rahall (all D-WV) recently announced $6 million in federal funding for airport improvements across the state.
The Fairmont Municipal Airport, or Frankman Field, is one of those selected and has been under construction for more than a decade.
It received a $733,776 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to continue making necessary upgrades.
The funds are being used to help make the facility safer.
“To adhere to the safety standards that FAA wants us to adhere to and we want to do it ourselves, sometimes we just have to move things around a little bit,” said Tom Mainella, Fairmont Airport Authority President.
The money specifically funds a new taxiway for the airport. The previous one was too close to the runway.
A replacement taxiway is in the process of being built.
“You do the projects as the money comes in. So you have to do the projects in increments. This is the third phase of the parallel taxi replacement,” Mainella said.
Sen. Rockefeller oversees the FAA as the chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.
In a press release, he stressed the importance of local airports to the West Virginia economy.
“Our local airports are critical to West Virginia’s economy now and in the future,” the press release reads, “They open our state to business opportunities and tourism, and provide a safe and convenient way for West Virginians to travel.”
The Fairmont Airport Authority agrees with the statement and said the improvements are necessary to help keep the doors open.
“We are on track to do fencing around at least half of the airport. Hopefully the following year we’ll complete that. Its ongoing projects. As the money comes in, we improve the airport,” Mainella said.
Senator Joe Manchin said the funding is critical to all West Virginia airports.
“Transportation infrastructure is a commonsense investment to create jobs,” he said in a press release, “By improving our airport facilities in West Virginia, we are not only protecting our travelers, but we are also attracting businesses and residents to our communities and expanding business opportunities.”
The Fairmont Airport Authority said residents wont see construction ending in the next couple of days, weeks, or even months. It hopes that in the next five years, all of the necessary improvement projects come to an end.