Air Show

In this file photo, Tim Wilde and Tom McCord fly past the crowd in their planes, a RV-8 and a T-6 in th Kokomo Air Show at Kokomo Municipal Airport on July 23, 2016.

The Kokomo Municipal Airport this week was awarded nearly $2.8 million for a major runaway rehabilitation, marking the largest single grant the facility has received in at least 15 years.

The funding comes from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program, which awards money annually to airports around the country.

Kokomo Municipal Airport Manager Shaun Baker said the funding will pay to completely repave the facility’s secondary runway, which measures 4,200 feet, and replace the airfield and runway lights.

He said it’s a major project that could never happen without federal dollars.

“Small airports that don’t have any commercial service would have a really hard time keeping up if this money wasn’t available,” he said. “It’s crucial.”

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the FAA this year is also funding the total costs of projects that are part of the Airport Improvement Program. Under normal circumstances, airports contribute a matching percentage of the project costs.

Baker said the city will save around $144,000 on the project now that it doesn’t have to pay a percentage of the costs.

The airport also received $30,000 earlier this year through the federal coronavirus stimulus package to help offset the impacts of the pandemic, which has led to a sharp decline in recreational flights at both facilities.

The Kokomo airport has received FAA improvement grants every year since at least 2005, but this year’s amount far surpasses any single grant the facility has received, according to data on the FAA’s website.

In total, the FAA this month awarded $273 million in airport safety and infrastructure grants to 41 states and U.S. territories. The grants will be used for infrastructure and safety projects, such as purchasing aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment, constructing and repairing runways and taxiways, and installing airport perimeter fencing.

“This $273 million federal investment in our nation’s airports will strengthen safety, improve travel, generate jobs and benefit local communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a release.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo Tribune and can be reached at 765-854-6739, or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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