Southwest Washington Airport Lands $1.2M Loan, Moves Ahead With Fuel Tank Project in Kelso

Dec. 13, 2022

Dec. 13—Southwest Washington Regional Airport has secured the state funding needed to take on its fuel tank replacement project in 2023.

The airport was awarded a $1.2 million loan from the state Community Aviation Revitalization Board, the maximum amount available for a project, during a Dec. 6 board meeting.

Airport staff and the operating board have been working for the past few years to fund the $1.7 million project to replace the current underground fuel tank with a set of above-ground tanks. The new tanks will have the same storage capacity but the new location mitigates the environmental risk posed by the underground tanks, which are more than 40 years old.

"It was an early Christmas present for us," airport Director Chris Paolini said. "There's a large group of people that have been working together to make this happen."

The local airport had returned a $500,000 loan to the Washington Department of Transportation-managed board earlier this year when the combination of inflation increases and construction demands put the project on an indefinite pause.

In the following months, airport staff created plans for a new fuel tank location that reduced the project's cost. In September the aviation board announced a new round of funding applications with the maximum loan size increased to $1.2 million.

Paolini said the airport will work "immediately" to complete the surveying and engineering work for the new fuel tank location. The goal is to order the fuel tanks in the next few months and install them around the beginning of fall.

Paolini said he and his staff will also watch out for additional grant opportunities to reduce the loan repayments for the four government entities that oversee the airport.


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