(Updated) Cullman Regional Airport receives $1.5M grant for taxiway reconstruction

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Cullman Regional Airport General Manager Ben Harrison (center) gives a tour in 2017. (Cullman Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama on Friday announced that Cullman Regional Airport has been awarded a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant of $1,543,500 for taxiway reconstruction. The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The grant is one of 20 awarded throughout Alabama for airport infrastructure improvements totaling more than $25 million.

“Well maintained and accessible airports are critical to our state’s continued economic growth and they are key to helping our communities expand and thrive,” Jones said. “This $25.9 million round of grants is great news for communities all around the state of Alabama that will put these dollars to work to improve their local airport’s infrastructure and safety.”  

“The FAA grants awarded to these local airports across Alabama support key projects that aim to improve safety, security, and efficiency,” said Shelby. “Airport infrastructure impacts overall economic success, and as a result of this funding, 20 of Alabama’s airports will receive the upgrades and advances needed to continue serving communities and driving development.”

According to Shelby’s office, the FAA grants – which range from $10.4 million for the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport to $100,200 for the Camden Municipal Airport – are funded through the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and federal appropriations.  Shelby is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which authors and advances the FAA funding legislation.  The funding distribution is based on both entitlement and discretionary awards.

Said Cullman Regional Airport General Manager Ben Harrison, “The project that we currently have was the entire north taxiway, but it was broken up in three phases. What they just awarded is for phase three, so that will totally finish that taxiway. If everything goes well, phase three should finish the north taxiway and make some improvements here that we need for maintenance and things of that nature.

“The runway has a heavy strength rating and the apron has a heavy strength rating, but the taxiways were the Achilles’ heel, so we had to get the taxiways built up and get those reconstructed. They’ve exceeded what they were originally designed to do. As we’ve grown, we need bigger capacity, so we need those taxiways built up. Next year we’re doing the runway.”

Harrison is hopeful the north taxiway will be finished this year.

“That’s the goal is to have it done this calendar year. Hopefully, this calendar year, the north taxiway will be completely finished,” he said.

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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com