Airport may seek state windfall funding

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — There may be some extra funding available from the state for airport projects.

To be ready for the possible opportunity, the timeline for a couple of projects have been moved up to this year, engineer Curtis Brown told the Dubois County Airport Authority Monday.

“That's really good news,” board President Jim Hunsicker said.

The Indiana Department of Transportation anticipates having about $2 million available for type 2 grants, which are grants to fund the design and construction of revenue-generating facilities.

“What’s driving this opportunity is the windfall of stimulus money the state has received because they did not have to do their match for the 2021 federal grants. So they have a couple million dollars extra that they never had before,” Brown said. “And because of that they're looking at issuing type 2 grants for the first time in more than a decade.

With that, the 2021 year in the Huntingburg Airport’s five year capital improvements plan has been updated to show the design and construction of a 10-unit T hangar and the design work for taxiway “A” edge lighting.

“We just pulled some projects up from 2022 into 2021, to try to position you for potential funding windfalls,” Brown said.

Airport Manager Travis McQueen said this funding opportunity is very rare.

“This is something we've never been able to have in my 20-plus years of being here,” he said. “We've always applied for type 2 funding, but the dollars and cents have never been there.”

Brown wasn’t sure how much would become available to the airport. Type 2 grants are a 50-50 match, so the airport would have to cover half of the project’s cost.

“If you have the opportunity to get 50-50, 50% is pretty good,” board member Mike Cummings said.

McQueen said it’s possible that the state doesn't grant the airport some of this funding.

“We’ve got to realize that most airports are cash-strapped and have no access to lines of credit for cash. So maybe we're viewed for the state as being not in that position,” he told the board. “But we want to be right there and ready to go when they say, ‘Hey, there's an opportunity.’”

Applications for the funding would be due in May. Brown plans to talk to INDOT officials in March and April to see what direction the agency is looking to go with the money. “Right now we just think it's going this way,” he said. “They're going to just look at what [groups] have type 2 projects in, and then have discussions. So I'm trying to position you [so you] could take advantage of it.”

The authority also:

• Accepted a bid from Moonlight Excavating of Ferdinand for $8,460 for a barn the airport owns.

• Directed Brown to schedule a meeting with airport tenants to discuss the plans for closing the runway this summer. The runway is being widened and extended.




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