Taxiway, ramp ready at airport; All that Carbon facility needs is a positive state inspection.

A new aircraft parking ramp at Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Mahoning Township is finished, the Carbon County Airport Authority was told Thursday.

The 5,000-square-foot ramp and an accompanying taxiway, which went out to bid more than a year ago, need only a state Aviation Bureau inspection before they can be used, authority Chairman Paul Smith said.

"I don't expect any problems," Smith said. "It's just a procedure that must be followed."

Until the inspection, the authority will hold back the last $18,000 owed to the project's contractor. The money will be released once the ramp passes inspection, Smith said. An inspection scheduled for Friday was canceled.

The project originally was budgeted at $275,000, but bids for the work came in higher than expected.

In March 2005, with the help of state Rep. Keith McCall, D-Carbon, the authority got a $374,250 state Transportation Department grant for improvements at the airport, but only $230,000 of that was to be for the new ramp and taxiway.

Smith has said the ramp and taxiway, at the airport's west end, will lead to a planned hangar for twin-engine aircraft and for small jets, which use the airport but can't be housed because there's no facility large enough, Smith said.

Smith said he hopes the hangar will draw business.

Christopher R. Mena is a freelance writer.

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