Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has approved its three-year, nearly $60 million Capital Improvement Program, which includes the largest airport grant in state history — $2.5 million for Enid Woodring Regional Airport.
The grant will help fund the runway extension project at Woodring, which will increase the airport’s 6,250-foot runway to 8,000 feet. The nearly $5.85 million extension project will allow T-38 aircraft from Vance Air Force Base to land at and takeoff from the airport.
In addition, Oklahoma Transportation Department provided $500,000 to help move Southgate Road farther south; Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission is providing up to $750,000 over three years. The airport also will use $450,000 it will receive from Federal Aviation Administration over the course of the next three years.
T-38s from Vance currently are unable to land at Woodring airport because of the shorter runway. Once the runway is lengthened, pilots will have another closer option available to them in case they are unable to land at Vance for whatever reason. The longer runway also will provide business jets with more room on which to take off, especially when they are carrying more passengers and/or fuel.
State officials said it is crucial that the Air Force has an airport nearby from which T-38s can operate. This is a critical step in defending Vance from being closed as part of the on-going threat of Base Realignment and Closure, Mike Cooper, city of Enid military liaison and chairman of the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, previously has said. Vance provides 5,600 jobs and has an economic impact of $250 million to the state’s economy.
The project required the city to purchase some 50 acres of land, plus reach agreements with the owners of another 45-50 acres south of the airport, concerning use of the land under the Oklahoma Aircraft Pilot and Passenger Protection Act. The measure, approved and signed into law in 2010, regulates the use of land in proximity to both public airports and military air installations, in respect to the type and size of structures that may be constructed on that property.
“Commerce flows through state airports and helps keep our economy humming,” said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. “Our airports are critical partners in the creation and retention of jobs across our state. The commission’s three-year CIP will ensure that our airports continue to meet the needs of commerce and communities throughout Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission approved 35 projects at 26 general aviation airports around the state.
Two other facilities in northwest Oklahoma also will receive funding: Fairview Municipal Airport and West Woodward Municipal Airport.
Fairview’s airport will receive $500,000 in fiscal year 2014 toward a $1.9 million project to extended the runaway about 880 feet, from 3,620 feet to 4,500 feet.
Fairview officials have done extensive work on the airport in recent years, including rebuilding the runway, rebuilding parking and hangar and access aprons, and remodeling the terminal building.
The Woodward airport will receive $179,022 in fiscal year 2015 to help pay to rehabilitate a portion of the main apron, the taxilane to the hangar area and the runway lighting system. Total cost of the project is $1.88 million.
Through its capital improvement program, Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission determines the projects at the 107 general aviation airports that will be funded with federal and state funds. Projects are prioritized based upon safety, preservation, standards and capacity.