A $73,000 federal grant has been awarded to Newton Municipal Airport Earl Johnson Field. The airport will receive the money from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration grant program.
The funding will be used to update the airport master plan narrative report and airport layout plan to address key issues, objectives and goals pertinent to the airport’s future development.
Ethan Nasalroad is the president of Johnson Aviation, which runs the Newton airport. The airport has periodically received grants — a snow-removal equipment grant was announced in April 2015.
“Master planning involves contractor services and a fair amount of engineering, using slope curves and those sorts of calculations,” Nasalroad said. “We need to have a 20-year plan. It doesn’t mean we’re necessarily going to do everything in the plan, but if we move forward on, say, a new cross-wind runway, it would already be sequenced into a master plan.”
Nasalroad said the grant is not connected to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which has stalled in Congress.
The Senate version of the reauthorization bill has been criticized by trade organizations, such as the Global Business Travel Association, as being too short in duration, as a similar reauthorization act in 2012 ran through Fiscal Year 2015. It would end with Fiscal Year 2017. The House version of the proposal calls for six full fiscal years.
Nasalroad said there were other elements of reauthorization proposals, especially privatization of certain FAA services, that were controversial.
“Those got shot down pretty quickly,” Nasalroad said.
The new bill is supposed to be completed by the time the 2012 extension runs out at the end of March. The House passed a short-term three-month extension on Monday and the Senate will likely follow suit, giving Congress until mid-July to agree on a more long-term bill.
Nasalroad said a short-term extension is basically “kicking the can down the road,” but it is still a relief to see a short-duration bill with many controversial provisions didn’t make it all the way through to the president’s desk.
Airports of all sizes will be following the process to see how they’ll be affected by the end decisions.
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack praised this week’s grant award.
“Our local airports play a critical role in allowing our communities to grow, as well as fuel additional economic development in the region,” Loebsack said. “I am pleased that the Newton Municipal Airport is receiving this competitive grant, which will allow the airport to continue functioning safely and effectively.”
Contact Jason W. Brooks at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or firstname.lastname@example.org