An announcement by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that 10 rural Nevada airports would share $4.3 million in federal money is keyed to ongoing aeronautics upgrades in Carson City and elsewhere.
Carson City, which is securing the largest amount at nearly $1.4 million, anticipated the grant and will use the money for the third phase of improvements to the airport’s south apron. Airport Manager Tim Rowe said the south apron project will be completed and then the goal next year will be to improve the northwest apron, also a place for airport parking of planes.
Rowe said this Federal Aviation Administration grant required previous bidding and contractor selection, which resulted in Granite Construction of Reno being selected to handle the work. Rowe said an announcement from Reid generally precedes official notification from the FAA of authority to proceed. He said the next phase of construction work may begin in June.
The airport manager also said this is part of various attempts through the FAA to make improvements to infrastructure and service opportunities so the airport can enhance revenue while moving forward. Among others are requests for FAA approval of night landings and landings or takeoffs by larger and speedier aircraft.
“It would help quite a bit to allow aircraft to come in day or night,” said Rowe. He said larger aircraft also would help, though night landings and larger aircraft are two different overtures the airport has made.
“There’s a lot hinging on this,” he said.
Reid’s announcement indicated the 10 spots involved are Carson City, Lincoln County, Winnemucca Municipal, Tonopah, Jackpot/Hayden, Silver Springs, Gabbs, Fallon Municipal, Yerington Municipal and Beatty airports. Reid, Nevada’s Democratic U.S. senator, said the Silver State’s vast rural areas make Nevada dependent on rural airports and aircraft service.
“As always,” he said, “I remain committed to Nevada’s general aviation.”
Rowe said in Carson City, the most populous of the ten communities, the apron project grant required just 6.25 percent in local matching funds. He also said the multi-phase project for runway and parking upgrades is moving along well. “Actually,” Rowe said, “we’re a year ahead of schedule.”
Not only do Rowe and the local Airport Authority hope to upgrade infrastructure and service range to enhance revenue, they are brainstorming ways to build a new terminal or improve other revenue-raising business opportunities at the airport over the longer term.