The Senate passed legislation Friday that, at least for now, funds the Federal Aviation Administration. The congressional stalemate stopped airport construction projects across the country and nearly 4,000 FAA employees were furloughed and forced to go without pay.
Construction of a $1.6 million runway expansion at Kokomo’s airport was jeopardized because of the FAA shutdown…but now that a deal has been reached, mayor Greg Goodnight says work should continue as planned.
“We had just awarded the project and then obviously we had concerns,” he said, “but we proceeded assuming things would get taken care of and just as we awarded the contracts a deal had still not been reached – still had not reached an agreement, but now that has been taken care of.”
Monroe County Airport Director Bruce Payton is dealing with something a little more serious – sinkholes under the runways. Repairs could cost more than a million dollars. Since Payton doesn’t have a budget to cover the cost, he’ll apply for funding from the FAA.
“This is the importance of the airport improvement program money that comes from the aviation trust fund,” he explained. “This is aviation money that is collected all around the country only from aviation and its users and it is put into that trust fund and it’s passed out in a discretionary manner to airports like ourselves.”
Congress has six weeks to strike up another deal or the FAA loses funding again.