RICHMOND — On July 14, Gov. Steve Beshear announced the Madison Airport and the Eastern Kentucky University aviation program would be receiving $1.1 million for expanded and improved facilities.
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Sixth District, announced the airport also would benefit from $600,000 in Federal Aviation Administration funds.
“I am pleased to announce that the FAA has approved these funds for the Madison Airport,” the congressman said. “Last year, my office was happy to assist in facilitating the FAA’s certification of the airport’s new runway electrical system, and will continue to work with the airport’s great team as they work to positively impact Madison County’s economy.”
Both sources of funding provide “an excellent start” for the first phase of the airport’s strategic plan, said Dr. Wilma Walker, airport board chair.
In addition to a new hangar, costing an estimated $350,000 to shelter EKU’s aircraft, the plan’s first phase calls for an expanded apron for parking aircraft and an expanded parking lot for automobiles.
Recently some aircraft bringing passengers to Madison County have had to leave them at the airport and fly elsewhere to wait for them to complete their business, Judge/Executive Kent Clark said when he and state Rep. Rita Smart relayed Beshear’s announcement.
The state and federal funds, along with additional money provided by the three local governments that jointly own the airport, should be enough to complete the hangar as well as the apron and parking lot expansions, Walker said.
When the airport board meets 3 p.m. Tuesday at the airport, its engineering firm, the Corradino Group, should be prepared to recommend acceptance of bids on the three jobs, she added.
“The airport is in great need of expansion to accommodate increased traffic, to improve safety and provide space for the general aviation public and the additional aircraft needed for EKU’s aviation program,” Walker said. “While this funding does not pay for the entire expansion that is needed, the strategic plan will be completed in phases, and we anticipate the additional monies will be available to complete Phase I,” she said of the state and federal funds.
The airport’s strategic plan represents a collaboration of the airport board, EKU, the fiscal court and the county’s two cities as well as state and federal governments, Walker noted.
“The community of partnerships involved with the Madison Airport is to be commended and is a great example of teamwork at all levels of government, Barr said.