Carson City Airport Authority members lowered their aim Thursday to repair the runway this year rather than build a new one.
The Authority hopes to do short-term runway repairs this year while applying for a new grant to get more money to build a new runway in 2002.
Airport officials complicated their runway dreams in March by deciding to realign the runway about 300 feet to the northwest instead of rebuilding the runway at its current location.
The airport had a $3.4 million Federal Aviation Administration grant to rebuild the runway where it is but the realignment will cost an estimated $7 to $10 million.
Federal officials and airport officials have agreed that the runway should not be rebuilt at its current location because there is not adequate distance between the runway and taxiway.
Airport officials last week asked the FAA for more money to fund he realignment but federal officials said Carson City would have to submit a new grant and turn in a completed master plan.
Airport counsel Steve Tackes said a master plan could be completed in two to three months with a new grant application submitted later this year. He said FAA funding would not become available until late 2001, meaning the earliest time to build a realigned runway would be 2002.
Airport Authority members in recent months had ambitions to rebuild the runway this year.
The Authority on Thursday asked consultant Coffman Associates of Reno to complete the master plan as quickly as possible.
"There are a lot more things to do with the master plan," Tackes said. "So far all you've done is vote on a runway alignment."
Airport officials believe they can use the $3.4 million grant to do short-term runway repairs, though they are still awaiting FAA confirmation. In the past, pavement maintenance was the airport's responsibility but airport engineer Jim Clague believes new airport legislation will allow Carson City to use the reconstruction grant for runway repairs.
The runway has cracks that are too large to repair adequately for full FAA approval. But the runway can be repaired well enough in anticipation of a new runway being built in two years, officials said.
Although FAA officials gave no clear indication they would approve the realigned runway, Tackes believes the federal hints to finish the master plan bodes well for the Carson City Airport Authority.
"I truly believe they are on our team," Tackes said.