The New River Valley (NRV) Airport in Pulaski County, Virginia has been awarded $743,425.00 in grant funds to strategically expand its aircraft parking ramp. The funding comes in the form of two grants. The first grant issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) covers 90% of the project cost and is for $682,738.00; the second grant issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Aviation covers 8% of the project cost and is for $60,687.00. The grant funds will be matched with $15,173.00 of NRV Airport funds to make up the total $758,598.00 construction cost for the 21,675 square foot ramp expansion.
The expansion at the airport is something the Airport Commission and local government leaders feel is critical to the short and long-term growth of the region. “The NRV Airport has always been a vital asset and a differentiator in our economic development toolbox, and expanding its capabilities is important to supporting the New River Valley and serving specifically the significant business growth we are experiencing here in Pulaski County,” stated Jonathan D. Sweet, County Administrator, Pulaski County. “The airport’s ability to leverage federal and state grants to cover 98% of the cost makes the project viable, allows for a much quicker return on investment back to the Commission and gives our business and industrial community a greater competitive advantage in the marketplace.”
The federal grant funding was made available with Congress’s passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which Virginia 9th District Congressman H. Morgan Griffith was a cosponsor. The legislation, which provided $3.35 billion for the FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) received support in the U.S. Senate from Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Timothy Kaine, and was signed into law in October 2018. Funding for the AIP program comes from federal taxes assessed on aviation fuels and does not use general fund money. Similarly, the Virginia Department of Aviation’s grant utilizes funding derived from the 5-cent state tax on aviation fuels sold in the Commonwealth. “These are aviation taxes being reinvested to fund aviation projects that ultimately generates more taxes and better serves the assorted needs of our diverse customers,” said Keith Holt, manager of the New River Valley Airport. “We have seen a tremendous increase in air freight traffic and overall airport usage which can be directly tied to the growth and strength of our local economy.”
The expansion will allow the airport greater space to park aircraft and transport air cargo. So far, in 2019, the airport has moved over 294,000 pounds of air freight, an increase of nearly 215% over 2018 figures. The project, awarded through a competitive bid process, will be constructed by W-L Construction and Paving Inc., from Chilhowie, Virginia. Eden and Associates with offices in Blacksburg, Virginia, will provide on-site engineering and construction management services.
The New River Valley Airport is a 469-acre general aviation airport located two miles north of the town of Dublin on State Route 100, directly adjacent to the New River Valley Commerce Park. The airport’s 6,201-foot-long runway can handle a wide array of corporate jets and has all-weather instrument landing capabilities. Operated by the New River Valley Airport Commission, with representatives from seven local jurisdictions, the airport is focused on the air service needs, demands and growth of regional businesses and economic development.