Flight instructor John Ekhoff assists flight student Houston Hutchison in a simulator at San Marcos Airport’s Redbird Skyport in San Marcos. PHOTO by DAVID WHITE
by ANDY SEVILLA
The San Marcos Municipal Airport was awarded $5.77 million in federal and state monies to improve pavement and lighting at the facility, particularly to one of its runways.
Airport manager Stephen Alexander of Texas Aviation Partners, the company contracted by the city to operate the 1,350-acre facility, said the grant money would be used to resurface and repair the runway used by pilots during inclement weather and to widen the airport’s entrance at Texas 21.
“These funds help put the San Marcos Airport on a glide path to a better future. Continued improvements will allow the airport to better serve Central Texas fliers,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett said in a statement.
The airport’s $5.77 million was approved by the Texas Transportation Commission at its January meeting, from $17 million in grant money used to fund improvements to about 300 general aviation airports in Texas, according to the commission.
The Texas Department of Transportation awards federal and state funding for capital improvement projects and to help develop and establish Texas airports as authorized by the federal Airport and Airway Improvement Act and the state’s Aviation Facilities Development and Financial Assistance Act, according to the Texas Transportation Commission, which operates under TxDOT.
San Marcos’ airport took the largest chunk of the $17 million grant, and will use $5,470,500 for the pavement and lighting improvements and $300,000 to widen the entrance road.
“We’re always striving to seek grant dollars that are available to improve the airport,” Alexander said, adding that the facility is a vital component to the economic vibrancy of the city and potentially the region.
In the past three years, the San Marcos Municipal Airport has been awarded funding for major improvements to include the traffic control tower, which opened in 2011; and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will install Terminal Radar Display safety equipment at the airport in February, Doggett said.
This year, TxDOT expects to provide about $60 million in funding for planning, construction and maintenance at community airports, according to state agency officials. Approximately 275 community airports in Texas are eligible for funding.
A project consultant will be selected this winter for the improvements at the San Marcos Municipal Airport, TxDOT officials said. The project costs will be funded through the city of San Marcos and TxDOT’s Aviation Facilities Grant Program.
The city of San Marcos will put up about $577,000, a ten percent match, to secure the federal grant.
ANDY SEVILLA reports for the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Hays Free Press and the San Marcos Mercury.Email | Print