City applying for funds to help upgrade airport taxiway

<p>The cost of rehabilitating the taxiway at the Hermiston Airport is estimated to be $2.94 million. A ConnectOregon grant, if approved, is expected to off-set some of the costs.</p>

The Hermiston Airport will likely receive a face lift soon if efforts to generate funding are successful. The City Council authorized City Manager Ed Brookshier to submit a grant application for $300,000 to assist in the rehabilitation of the taxiway at the facility.

Assistant to the City Manager Mark Morgan said the money would be spent on two aspects of the taxiway. The surface of the taxiway will be brought up to current Federal Aviation Administration standards and the distance of the western end of the taxiway from the runway will be adjusted.

“FAA standards require that the taxiway be a certain distance from the runway,” Morgan said. “We will also be resurfacing the taxiway in order to bring it up to FAA standards.”

Currently, the western end of the taxiway does not run perfectly parallel to the adjacent runway but instead angles slightly inward. The Hermiston Airport is configured as a class B-II airport and is required to maintain a 240-foot distance from the runway to the centerline of the taxiway. The western end of the taxiway currently comes to within 200 feet of the runway.

Morgan said the surface of the taxiway will be resurfaced to repair the many cracks that have appeared as a result of normal wear and tear through the years. Morgan said the work will not only make the facility easier to maintain but will also allow the city to apply for other grants for future work.

“We have to maintain quality standards in order to qualify for other grants,” Morgan said. “Before we get into any other grant funding to extend the runway or build new hangars, we have to comply with some basic guidelines to bring it up to FAA standards.”

The grant application authorized by the council is through the “Connect Oregon” program. The state-funded program is widely used by municipal airports to assist in matching FAA grant money. FAA grants require a 10 percent match of non-federal money.

The Connect Oregon program allows airports to use the state grant money as the match, significantly reducing the financial burden associated with expensive airport projects.

The estimated total cost of the project is $2.94 million. If the city is successful in attaining the state grant money, Morgan estimated the cost to the city to be only $33,333, which the city currently has available in the Airport Reserve account.

If the city receives the Connect Oregon grant, Morgan said work could begin in May 2015 and likely continue until November.

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