Airport Authority gives nod to improvement plans

Dec. 20, 2012 @ 09:47 AM

The Rutherford County Airport Authority officially approved the North Carolina Division of Aviation’s Transportation Improvement Plan on Tuesday afternoon during a brief meeting at the airport.

Funding for the future improvement projects will come from the sale of jet fuel at the Rutherford County Airport as well as grants from the NC Division of Aviation, authority chair Bob Howard said. 

 “This money is user’s fee money returning to the county,” Howard said. “It is not Rutherford County taxpapers’ money,” he said, regarding funding of projects.

He said the airport authority officially accepted the aviation transportation plan for  2014-2018 on Tuesday, that includes the property acquisition of 52 acres of land to be used for the expansion of the airport. The property acquisition plan is already underway, Howard said.

In addition to the expansion plan, the improvement plans also call for the extension of waterlines to the airport off Oscar Justice Road and the future development of the northeast areas of the airport.

“We actually voted to accept the TIP worksheet,” Howard said, although the airport authority had taken action on the plans recently.

The future development of the property will include the geology, pollution, wet land studies, also a part of the TIP.

The plans are not prioritized and the authority can decide at what point it might do a particular projects, depending on funding and the land purchase.

“Everything hinges on the acquisition of the property. You have to plan for it ... it’s an exciting time for the airport. If the county grows, the airport grows. If the airport grows, the county grows,” he said. 

In October, the airport received a $180,000 grant from the N.C. Division of Aviation to be used for the purchase of the 52 acres of land from the Edwards family for the expansion of the airport terminal area on the east side of he runway. 

 A 10 percent match is required by the county and matching funds could also be used with grant funding.