Perry Municipal Airport lands $1.5 million in FAA grant funds

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Photo courtesy Bolton and Menk Inc.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Perry Municipal Airport is one of three Iowa airports to win approval for grant funding through the federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP), the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced.

Perry’s $1.5 million in AIP funds will go toward the city’s $12 million plan to build a new, longer runway at the airport, eventually replacing the current 4,000-foot structure with a 5,500-foot runway.

The FAA is covering 90 percent of the cost of the new runway, with the city of Perry’s 10 percent share amounting to about $1.2 million. The Perry City Council in January approved the sale of $2.075 million in general obligation bonds to finance the airport improvements.

The city’s runway project has been taxiing toward takeoff for almost five years and has finally reach the stage of land acquisition. In order first to qualify for AIP funding, the city conducted an environmental impact study in 2015 and secured changes to the county zoning ordinances in 2016.

Perry’s improvement plan calls first for converting the airport’s existing 4,000-foot runway into a parallel taxiway and then building a new runway 400 feet to the west of the current air strip. The new runway will be the same length it is today — 4,000 feet — but the zoning changes approved by the county permit its eventual extension to 5,500 feet.

The new runway will cost for about $2.9 million, and the old runway would be converted into a taxiway at a cost of about $1.5 million. The long-range plan calls for the eventual lengthening of the concrete runway, first to 5,000 feet and then to 5,500 feet.

Other Iowa airports winning AIP funding include the Des Moines International Airport, set to get $4.7 million to reconstruct an apron and taxiway, and the Clarion Municipal Airport, receiving more than $500,000 for a runway rehabilitation project.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said the FAA’s “significant investment in airport improvements in Iowa will fund construction and rehabilitation projects that will help maintain high levels of safety in U.S. aviation.”

The FAA awards a certain amount of AIP entitlement funding each year based on an airport’s activity levels and project needs. If an airport’s project needs exceed its available funds, the FAA can supplement the entitlements with discretionary funding.

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