Airport Awarded $3 Million for Improvements
The Division of Aviation of the North Carolina Department of Transportation has awarded Moore County Airport in Southern Pines almost $3 million in state funds for capital improvements.
The $2.96 million in state aid to the Moore County Airport through the State Aid to Airports program represents 90 percent of a $3.29 million project, said Moore County Airport Executive Director Steven Borden.
"The remaining 10 percent comes from a county match to a total FAA grant of $329,000," he said
The Moore County Board of Commissioners approved Borden's request in August.
The FAA-mandated safety upgrades call for the airport to extend Runway 5 and its parallel taxiway 600 feet. The runway extension will help make the airport safer by providing additional takeoff length for larger aircraft, as it will be more than 6,100 feet.
"The extra room allows aircraft to take off more safely, since it has more room," Borden said. "Planes will also be able to carry more -passengers and more fuel with the additional runway length."
The airport also will upgrade its medium intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights, Borden said, as well as installing new radio transmitting and receiving equipment. The lighting project will provide better visibility for aircraft approaches into the airport during bad weather, while the radio equipment will give pilots more reliable and direct communication access to air traffic control.
Funds for the county match will be taken from the general fund balance. In a previous interview, County Commissioner Nick Picerno said that this will be of no cost to county taxpayers.
"These funds will be reimbursed to the county's general fund balance in accordance ... with the occupancy tax to fund this particular project," said Picerno.
As the NCDOT's basic airport aid program, State Aid to Airports provides funds "for the purpose of planning, acquiring, constructing or improving municipal, county and other publicly owned or controlled airports, and to authorize related programs of aviation safety, promotions and long-range planning."
"We are very pleased that things are coming to fruition," said Borden about the project. "It is a major milestone to soon get all of these FAA-required safety projects completed."
Moore County Airport has an approximate $35.2 million a year cumulative impact on North Carolina and supports more than 260 jobs, based on a 2012 statewide economic impact study.
Airport improvements will be critical come 2014, when Pinehurst will host the men's and women's U.S. Opens in consecutive weeks. The airport is expected to see a significant increase in air traffic during that time.
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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