RALEIGH – In its June meeting, the N.C. Board of Transportation approved state and federal grants for safety improvement projects at three North Carolina airports.
Nearly $3.5 million in state and federal funding has been awarded for projects that improve the taxiways at these airports, enhancing safety for pilots and their aircraft.
At Wilkes County Airport, the funds will be used to upgrade the taxiway through pavement rehabilitation, removing direct access to the runway and adding wider turning areas. This will bring the airfield up to date with current Federal Aviation Administration standards.
“This will benefit our airport and our community significantly," said Wilkes County Airport Manager Robert Gross. “Larger aircraft will now fly here directly and use this airport. People will be able to do business in Wilkesboro, Boone, Sparta and other communities without having to fly in somewhere else and make the drive up."
The grants the N.C. Board of Transportation approved provide:
$200,000 in additional funding to include a partial parallel taxiway design in the existing grant for apron expansion design at Elkin Municipal Airport;
$534,398 in additional funding to rehabilitate the pavement on taxiway A and the apron area at Michael J. Smith Field in Beaufort;
$2,718,000 in additional funding to rehabilitate the pavement and add safety enhancements to Wilkes County Airport's taxiway.
North Carolina's 72 public airports serve as a vital economic engine connecting people and business enterprises with the world, and are among the primary economic drivers in their communities. Airports and aviation-related industries contribute more than $52 billion to North Carolina's economy each year, according to the 2019 State of Aviation report. They support 307,000 jobs, generate more than $2.2 billion in state and local tax revenue and provide more than $12.6 billion in personal income.
The funds awarded do not necessarily represent the total cost of the project.