Airport to pay for apron, vehicle; $4.8 million comes from federal funds

Spokane International Airport plans to spend part of about $4.8 million in federal grant money on a new apron and an emergency vehicle.

Slated for use as aircraft parking or as a taxiway, the roughly $3 million apron project will promote further expansion of corporate and general aviation traffic, the fastest-growing segment of the aviation industry, said airport spokesman Todd Woodard.

The airport receives about $5 million annually in federal money, which comes from an 8 percent tax on airline ticket sales, he said.

The new 3,000-gallon-capacity aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle is expected to carry water, foam and chemical fire retardant and will replace an aging machine, Woodard said.

Some of the money also will be used to design rehabilitation of an airport taxiway and the tarmac around the main passenger terminal - a project that will go out to bid next year, Woodard said.

Washington airports statewide received more than $8.3 million this year from the federal Airport Improvement Program, overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the office of Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport in Pullman will receive $600,000 to conduct a study of its master plan, allowing to it "make sound financial managements decisions, as well as prioritize development needs," according to Murray's office.

Another $1 million will allow the Port of Whitman County Business Air Center in Colfax build a parallel taxiway the length of its runway to comply with FAA standards, according to the senator's office.

Construction contracts for the new Spokane apron, planned for an area south of Pilot Drive at the airport's southeast corner, will be awarded at the Spokane Airport Board's June meeting, Woodard said.

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