$3.3 million grant for airport construction

The Williamsport Regional Airport was awarded $3.3 million in grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration, to go toward new construction, said Airport Director Thomas Hart during the airport authority’s meeting Thursday.

The funds will specifically go toward the milling and overlay of a runway as well as updating that runway’s lighting. It also will go toward updating the airport’s lighting system and light towers that help planes approach the airport at the proper angles, as well as relocating the electrical control vault.

Hart added that $500,000 of the grant will go toward the construction of the terminal building.

“I didn’t think we’d hear anything about this until around August or September,” he said. “We may be seeing these grants rolling our way in the near future, which will be good. We can get these projects underway.”

Those projects already have been bid and the award has been included in the budgeting process, Hart said. While designs can be looked into and approved, construction can’t begin just yet.

“We can’t start any work until we have the grant in hand,” he said.

The airport is one of nearly 3,400 identified as significant to national air transportation by the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems Report, making it eligible for the grant through the Airport Improvement Program, according to a news release from Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, announcing the award.

In other business, the authority unanimously accepted a proposal from Hillis-Carnes Engineering Associates Inc., of Williamsport, for independent testing and inspection services for the new passenger terminal construction in an amount not to exceed $35,000.

Hart said the testing and inspection will be for concrete and other things “typical” to construction sites.

“They should do a fine job for us,” he said.