Airport seeks FAA grant funding
September 5, 2018
The airport director is seeking financial support from the Sweetwater County Commission and city of Rock Springs to pursue grant money for the design phase of the airport’s commercial terminal.
Devon Brubaker, Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport director, said all of this is coming out of a decision made by the U.S. Congress in March to provide supplemental appropriations of $1 billion in additional federal discretionary funding for airport infrastructure improvements. The Federal Aviation Administration has dedicated this money to small airports like this one.
“Pretty much every airport in Wyoming qualifies for this,” Brubaker said.
According to Brubaker’s written report, supplemental appropriations for the FAA Airport Improvement Program are very rare. The funding being offered would be at the same match level other FAA AIP funding levels for eligible expenses are at, including 93.75 percent federal, 3.75 percent state and 2.5 percent local.
Brubaker estimated the renovation and expansion project for the commercial terminal at the airport could cost between $10-$14 million and could take three-to-four years to complete. Brubaker decided to use funding projections for the largest amount. With supplementary AIP funding, the FAA would pay $9,843,750, the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s share would be $393,750 and locally it would be $3,762,500, for a total of $14 million. These numbers are assuming they receive funding at 75 percent, but Brubaker is hoping that number could go as high as 95 percent of the funding, which would change the numbers.
Without the funding, the FAA would pay $3 million WYDOT would pay $4.5 million, and local would pay $6.5 million for a total of $14 million. Even though the decision by Congress was made in March, Brubaker is just receiving guidance on how to qualify for the funding from the FAA. One item the FAA guidance listed was the project must be as close to shovel ready as possible. Brubaker said for that to happen, the airport must start the design project portion of the project and is asking the county for financial assistance in the amount of $711,111. He said the city of Rock Springs will also help fund the design phase.
Brubaker said the county and Rock Springs must move fast because the deadline for the AIP assistance application is Oct. 31.
County grants coordinator Krisena Marchal said she agreed that moving into a design phase would increase the likelihood of the airport being selected. Brubaker said he knows it’s a highly competitive and sought-after grant, but he was going to do everything he could to try and get it.
After some discussion, the commissioners asked that the request for the funding be placed as an agenda item for its next meeting, which will take place Sept. 18.