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Airport receives stimulus money

$18 million to fund runway, apron work

Spokane International Airport will receive $18 million in federal economic stimulus money, Director Neal Sealock said Wednesday.

The funds will allow the airport to accelerate projects already planned, he said, possibly avoiding the need for a third construction season to wrap up the work.

The airport has put a 2,000-foot runway extension project and apron resurfacing work out for bid. Sealock said the combined cost will be around $40 million, and airport funds will pay for the balance of the project.

The Federal Aviation Administration stimulus money will provide $7 million for the runway extension and $11 million for the apron work, he said.

“This is allowing us to do it all at one time,” Sealock said, noting the middle section of the runway will also be re-graded.

Extension of Taxiway A along with the runway will also be possible thanks to the FAA stimulus money, he said.

He said Congress gave the FAA $1.8 billion in stimulus money, which the agency had to allocate within 30 days. Airports had 30 days to get bidding packages out, and 15 days to award the bids. The Spokane airport will open bids by the end of March, he said.

“This all happened fairly quickly,” Sealock said.

He said airport officials had to be sure an accelerated work schedule would not interrupt airport operations before seeking the stimulus money.

Sealock said the $18 million awarded Spokane is close to the $20 million maximum the FAA could award any one airport, no matter its size.

“We feel very, very fortunate,” he said.

Contact Bert Caldwell at (509) 459-5450 or