Expiring Federal Program Would Cut AIP Funds To 55 Small Airports

The airports will each lose $850,000 of their $1 million in Airport Improvement Program funds to pay for capital improvement projects.

Shaffer is hopeful that the DuBois airport will be back up to full federal funding in fiscal year 2007.

"We are on track to being over 10,000 [passengers] this calendar year. We have been averaging 1,200 to 1,500 each month. We are coming back, however, a lot of small facilities are not coming back and do need the program," Shaffer said. Prior to 2001, Shaffer said the DuBois airport had annual passenger boardings that ranged from 14,000 to 16,000.

"We were cognizant that our funding was in jeopardy. We were hoping to get our numbers back. We only missed by 400. It is not much, but if you are off by one, then you are out."

With its most recent $1 million AIP grant, DuBois purchased a firefighting rescue vehicle and in the previous year it purchased a high-speed broom for snow removal.

With the AIP funding falling to $150,000 next year, Shaffer said the airport is delaying the installation of a new water tower that would have improved the water pressure at the airport and at its budding business park.

However, the airport will build a new road that will link the airport to a new access road off Interstate 80 with AIP funds that had been banked.

Knowing that it would soon have its AIP funds cut, Moses Lake, Wash., has been tackling major capital projects and equipment purchases while it still has the money, said Craig Baldwin, its executive director. The money is being used to engineer a taxiway rehabilitation. The airport is hoping to then win a discretionary grant for the project, otherwise it will have to be a multi-year project based on the $150,000 grants.

In 2000, Moses Lake had 12,000 enplanements. Baldwin said this year it may hit 5,000. Big Sky is now flying twice a day to Portland, Ore., and once a day to Boise, Idaho.



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