West Virginia’s air transportation infrastructure is getting a major boost.
Gov. Jim Justice, Secretary of Transportation Byrd White and Aeronautics Commission Director Sean Hill stopped at three airports on Monday to announce thousands of dollars in aeronautics grant awards being awarded to 11 state airports.
The group held a press conference at Charleston’s Yeager Airport to announce $146,000 to the facility to be used for drainage system improvements. Yeager Airport Director Nick Keller said the grant will allow the airport to draw down $2.6 million in federal funding for drainage improvements, outfalls, and seeps.
“Money like this, the grant today allows us to leverage federal dollars to make infrastructure improvements,” Keller said.
“We are on top of a mountain so we have to make sure our drainage is adequate, the outfalls are maintained. Without support from the state of West Virginia, this type of federal funding would be impossible.”
Keller, who was thankful for Justice’s support of the airport on Monday, said improvements to the airport’s infrastructure allows the facility to attract more fliers and airlines.
“Airlines and users of the airport they look at the facility,” he said. “We want to have a positive customer environment so we want to have a modern, nice-looking facility and it has to be well maintained.”
According to a release by Justice’s office, West Virginia airports received $677,000 in grant funding from the Aeronautics Commission, unlocking $12 million more in federal funding.
A grant to improve slips in the runway at Huntington’s Tri-State Airport was also announced Monday. Tri-State Airport Director Brent Brown said the slips are in the runway safety area, taxiway foxtrot and near the snow removal equipment building.
“All three of those are necessary aspects to keep the airport operational and safe. Without the help of the FAA, the state and our governor, we wouldn’t be able to do these projects as quickly as we need to get them done.”
The final stop on Monday was at Mercer County Airport in Bluefield.
Justice has proclaimed October as General Aviation Appreciation Month in West Virginia.