September 11, 2003

Briggs-Smith Memorial Airport Named In $16 Million Federal Aviation Grant For State

Missouri Department of Transportation officials recently announced that Briggs-Smith Memorial Airport in Memphis is among the smaller airports throughout Missouri that will receive an additional $16 million in federal grants this year for facility improvements.

The money was included in grants announced September 8 in St. Louis by U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta.

Major federal funding will be provided for new runways at Kennett and Washington and to purchase land for a future runway expansion in Lee’s Summit. Smaller amounts of up to $150,000 will be provided for 66 other airports throughout the state.

“We’re very pleased to fund these improvement projects for aviation facilities throughout Missouri, and we’re extremely grateful for the assistance by Missouri’s congressional delegation in securing these funds,” said MoDOT Director Henry Hungerbeeler. “Airports are important to our smaller communities for travel and economic development. This money will allow MoDOT to work with the communities on airport maintenance and improvement projects.”

Missouri is one of nine states that currently administer federal aviation funding to the airports under the State Block Grant Program. Including this latest allocation, MoDOT will have administered more than $157 million in federal aviation funding since entering the program in 1989. Funding is generated from aviation user fees on airline tickets and from the sale of aviation fuels. It does not come from general tax revenue and can only be used for aviation projects.

A total of $24 million in federal grants, including the $16 million, has been awarded to Missouri for federal fiscal year October 1 through September 30, 2003. This is the largest grant amount Missouri has received since it began administering the block grant program.

“Projects undertaken with the funding include construction of 16 new runways at existing airports and construction of six new airports, which is more new airports than any other state in the nation,” added Brian Weiler, MoDOT multimodal director. “The program allows airports to use the money for planning, design, land acquisition, construction of airfield improvements and airport maintenance.”

There are 127 public-use airports in Missouri — eight commercial and 119 for general aviation use.

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