Jacksonville Airport to Receive $12 Million Grant

The federal government will be giving the Jacksonville Aviation Authority $12 million, with the bulk of the money to be spent on work at Jacksonville International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized an $8.6 million grant to pay for construction of airplane parking areas known as aprons around the two concourses that are being expanded over the next three years.

The money comes on top of $4 million the authority received from the FAA last year and $16 million the authority has received from the Florida Department of Transportation, including $13 million FDOT provided in July for the expansion project.

Apron work is a huge part of the terminal expansion project, which was officially kicked off Monday, although work has been taking place - largely out of sight of passengers - since May: About $45 million of the $170 million project will be spent on installing 16-inch-thick slabs of concrete around the A and C concourse, which will be moved closer to concourse B, opening up room for six more gates to be added to the 14 there now.

"This is a major event for Jacksonville, the city and the airport," said Mary Burnett, chair of the Aviation Authority board. "We're looking forward to good things."

As well as the money to be spent at Jacksonville International Airport, the FAA also agreed to provide $3.4 million in Military Airport Program for work to be done at Cecil Field, the former military base that the Navy handed over to the city in 1999.

The Military Airport Program provides money to turn former military bases into civilian airports: Cecil has received between $2.5 million and $3 million from the program each year since 2000.

The funding this year will cover 95 percent of the cost of repairing the roofs on two hangars at the site, upgrading the fire mains and installing a security fence. It will also pay about a third of the cost of a runway rehabilitation project.

The rest of the funding will come from airport revenue funds and from the Florida Department of Transportation. As of Monday, the state had not said how much it would contribute and in what budget years, but Aviation Authority executives expected to have that information this week.

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