Allentown Airport Authority Seeks More Money for Project

Carbon County Airport Authority has asked the state for more money to build a taxiway that would connect to a proposed hangar after construction bids showed the project will cost more than expected.

The authority last Thursday asked the state Department of Transportation's Bureau of Aviation to pay more for the project at Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Mahoning Township.

Bids came in about 30 percent higher than expected, authority Chairman Paul Smith said. The apparent low bid for the taxiway was $360,864 from Imperial Excavating of Allentown. The project engineer last year estimated the work would cost about $275,000 and that figure was given to the state, Smith said.

The price to pave the taxiway has increased because of the escalating cost of materials made with petroleum, such as blacktop.

Smith said the state already provided about $20,000 for the design and engineering phase of the project, which is separate from the construction cost, and that officials are not likely to abandon a project they have already approved and invested in. He said he's optimistic the authority will get more funding.

The authority has completed such projects in the past with grant money from the state and federal transportation agencies. The federal government pays 95 percent of the cost, with the state and authority paying 2.5 percent each.

If the project funding is reworked, about $342,821 will come from the federal government and the authority and state each will provide $9,022.In March 2005, state Rep. Keith McCall, D-Carbon, secured $230,000 in state funding for the taxiway.

The project is part of the airport's long-term expansion. The taxiway will lead to a proposed hangar with room for up to 10 planes. The authority now rents space in three hangars at Jake Arner Memorial for $190 a month.

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