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August 16, 2012
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Airport receives $1.3 million in federal grants

The Minden-Tahoe Airport has been awarded $1.3 million in federal grants to rehabilitate the primary taxiway, County Manager Steve Mokrohisky announced Thursday.

The three Federal Aviation Administration grants are the first to be administered since passage of the airport use ordinance in 2010, regaining compliance with federal regulation and bringing on new management.

"Two years ago, our residents said they wanted an economically vibrant and financially self-sufficient general aviation airport with a focus on soaring and sport aviation," Mokrohisky said. "We listened, and thanks to the new airport use ordinance adopted by our voters, we are now receiving the funds we need to maintain our current infrastructure at no cost to local taxpayers."

The first grant awarded this year was $204,000 for engineering, survey work and core sampling in preparation for the engineering and design work.

The second grant was $565,313 for rehabilitation of the southern portion of the 7,700-foot primary taxiway.

Mokrohisky said work on the section is expected to take 20 days.

"The airport was notified last week that a third grant will be awarded for an additional $590.491 for the northern portion of the primary taxiway," Mokrohisky said.

Bid documents are available for the project with the bid opening date Aug. 27.

Mokrohisky said the two projects will overlap and are expected to be complete by late September or early October.

He said the FAA grants require a local match of 6.25 percent, or a total of $89,803.

"The airport is financially self-sufficient, and no local taxes pay to operate or maintain the airport," Mokrohisky said. "The local match will be from airport funds generated by fees charged to airport users not local taxpayers."

He said the project schedule is designed to prevent interruption in flight activities.

"No modifications will be made to the existing weight bearing restrictions for aircraft operations when the work is complete," he said.

The county was notified in 2009 by the FAA that if changes weren't made to the previous weight restrictions at the airport, it would be found in noncompliance with federal regulations and be ineligible for federal funds to maintain critical infrastructure.

Mokrohisky said officials held 40 meetings to develop options for a new airport use ordinance based on public feedback.

"At the time, the county estimated a cost of approximately $1.5 million per year to maintain the current airport pavement in reasonable condition, a cost local taxpayers would likely have had to pick up if federal funds would have been restricted," Mokrohisky said.

Douglas County voters approved the new ordinance in November 2010.

"It contains various guidelines and restrictions on the operational use and development of airport infrastructure, with the goal to maintain the rural character of Douglas County," Mokrohisky said.

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The Record Courier Updated Aug 16, 2012 08:25PM Published Aug 16, 2012 02:08PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.