Senators announce more than $7.7 million to be allocated for project at Morgantown Municipal Airport

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UPDATE (APRIL 30, 2020 6:40 p.m.):

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin announced in a press release on Wednesday that $7,777,778 will be used to support an extended runway project at the Morgantown Municipal Airport.

This funding, according to the release, has made available through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which received additional funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that was signed into law on Friday, March 27.

The current length of the runway is 5,199 feet, making it the shortest runway for commercial carrier airports in the state. According to the release, the extension will add 1,001 feet to the runway and will enhance and modernize the airport’s facilities to help it maintain current operations, recruit new businesses and improve safety at the airport.

Senator Capito explained that the news of the funding comes at a time when local airports need support.

“This is a critical initial investment in a project that can bring long-term economic benefit to Monongalia county and the surrounding areas. I’m thankful for the commitment the FAA has fostered in our state and the additional support we are receiving from the CARES Act.”

Senator Capito

Senator Manchin shared that the West Virginia airports are vital to the state’s economy and tourism industry. He stated that it not only allows people to visit, but it also gives West Virginians the opportunity to travel across the nation.

“I am pleased the FAA is providing funding to the Morgantown Municipal-Walter Bill Hart Airport to accommodate increased air traffic serving the Morgantown community and West Virginia University (WVU). I will continue to fight to ensure that all of our airports receive this funding.”

Senator Manchin.

According to an additional press release from the City of Morgantown, the federal funds will be used to cover expenses for the first phase of the project, which is expected to begin in the fall 2020.

It is anticipated that the $7 million will be used towards the following:

  • All clearing and grubbing for site prep
  • Erosion and sedimentation controls
  • Temporary stormwater management features
  • Embankment toe bench
  • Culverts for the stream enclosures
  • The start of the embankment
  • Design and construction management for the first construction package.

“We are extremely grateful for the assistance of Senator Capito and Manchin in securing these
funds,” said Morgantown City Manger, Paul Brake. “This project is extremely important for the
economic development of the city and once it’s completed its impact will be felt across the
region.”

The release mentioned that the Runway Extension project is closely tied to the future I-68 Commerce Park. When completed, the two projects will be the most significant economic development projects in the history of the city, and according to officials, it will be an important economic driver for the region.

“We’ve had some major movement on this project in the past six months. I hope and expect that momentum to continue. It’s really rewarding to see something of this magnitude finally begin to take shape.”

Morgantown Municipal Airport Director, Jon Vrabel

The Runway Extension Project is estimated to take at least five years to complete at an estimated cost of $50 million. It is anticipated that a majority of the funding for the design and construction of the project will come from the FAA Airport Improvement Program. The remaining cost will be funded by the City of Morgantown and the State of West Virginia.

Morgantown’s City Manager, Paul Brake, said the project would have been delayed many years without this funding from the federal government because of the decrease in the city’s revenue stream during the coronavirus outbreak. Brake, like others, sees the funding and the project as a significant step in the right direction toward strengthening the greater Morgantown area economically.

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