Airport receives $150K for improvements

Published 5:00 pm Monday, November 21, 2016

Washington-Warren Airport has been allocated $150,000 from the N.C. Department of Transportation for improvements.

The grant for the airport, owned by the City of Washington, comes from the Federal Aviation Administration’s non-primary entitlement funds and through the state’s block-grant program for aviation-related projects. The funds are intended for airside safety needs first, after which other needs may be considered, according to a letter from Bobby L. Watson, an engineer with DOT’s Division of Aviation.

As a condition of receiving the grant, the city is required to contribute $16,667 to the improvement project.

““The grant money is to be used for the design phase of Runway 5-23 Pavement Rehabilitation — Overlay. The purpose of the project is to rehabilitate the pavement surface and strengthen existing pavement to accommodate aircraft up to 60,000 lb.,”wrote Frankie Buck Jr., the city’s public-works director, in an email.

An FAA official explained the funding program.

“North Carolina is what we call a … a state block grant recipient. We give them (state) a grant. They divvy that grant up among the smaller airports,” said Arlene Salac, an FAA public-affairs spokeswoman, in a brief interview last week.

During its Nov. 14 meeting, the City Council authorized the mayor to execute the $164,074 pavement rehabilitation grant awarded by the Division of Aviation. The grant now moves to the next step in the funding process. A 2014 report issued by DOA indicates the runway is in poor condition. The grant requirements call for the city to contribute $18,231 toward the project, estimated to cost $182,305, according to city documents. The state grant accounts for 90 percent of the project cost.

During its Nov. 23, 2015, meeting, the council unanimously voted to hire Talbert & Bright to provide airport planning, environmental analysis, preliminary and final designs, estimating, bidding and construction management and other functions. The firm will help prepare applications for grants related to airport work and provide technical assistance and advice concerning airport needs, future development, funding strategies and implementation of airport projects, according to a city document.

The N.C. Department of Transportation requires that local governments that own airports seek requests for qualifications from engineering firms every five years. The city received four proposals. Talbert & Bright’s compensation depends on the work it does for the city.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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