$136M plan to improve Oklahoma airports approved

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A five-year, $136 million plan was approved this week to improve Oklahoma’s airports.

The plan was approved at the May 20 meeting of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC).

The statewide Airport Construction Program (ACP) is for fiscal years 2021 through 2025 and will address needs at 50 of Oklahoma’s public airports.

Projects range from extending runways and rehabilitating pavements, to replacing lighting systems and the construction of new terminal buildings.

The ACP is updated yearly and is based on project needs and a combination of funding through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), state funding from the OAC and local matches from cities.

“This plan targets safety improvements and increases the growth potential for Oklahoma’s urban and regional airports,” Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz said. “These projects will ensure that airports in the Oklahoma Airport System are among the safest and most efficient in the country.”

Major projects are planned at several airports including Oklahoma City’s Wiley Post Airport, Tulsa’s R.L. Jones-Riverside Airport, Bristow’s Jones Memorial Airport, Grove Regional Airport, University of Oklahoma’s Max Westheimer Airport, Ponca City Regional Airport, Ada Regional Airport, Muskogee’s Davis Regional Airport, and several others.

Some notable project examples include:

  • Max Westheimer Airport in Norman – $10 million project to rehabilitate the parallel taxiway systems. In addition, the funding will go towards constructing a new air traffic control tower which is part of the FAA’s Federal Contract Tower Program.
  • L. Jones-Riverside Airport in Tulsa – $4.1 million to rehabilitate and upgrade its taxiway system, as well as to improve their crosswind runway which supports their flight training operations. With 400+ based aircraft, R.L. Jones is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the nation and is the busiest airport in Oklahoma.
  • Wiley Post Airport in northwest Oklahoma City – $4.5 million to widen the secondary runway to accommodate business jet traffic, as well as improving the pavement and lighting system for their crosswind runway. With 300+ based aircraft and almost 100 jets, Wiley Post is one of the primary hubs for business aircraft use in Oklahoma.

Although a large part of airport funding goes to the busier airports in Oklahoma’s two metro areas, Regional Business Airports in smaller communities across the state will also benefit from this five-year program, including:

  • $7.5 million to reconstruct the runway at Ponca City Regional Airport
  • $5.1 million to extend the runway at Robert S Kerr Airport in Poteau
  • $3.3 million to improve the runway and safety area at Ada Regional Airport
  • $3 million to rehabilitate the runway at Idabel’s McCurtain County Regional Airport
  • $2.2 million to repair the runway and taxiway at the Guymon Municipal Airport
  • $4 million to realign the parallel taxiway system at Miami Regional Airport
  • $1.5 million for a new terminal building at the Thomas P Stafford Airport in Weatherford
  • $5 million to realign the parallel taxiway system at Guthrie/Edmond Regional Airport

“Most of these projects have been in the works for several years as airport sponsors, their consultants and agencies identified the most critical needs and diligently prepared plans to maximize available funding,” OAC Director Victor Bird said. “We appreciate the work of our partners to help us prepare this updated plan and to get work underway.”

Improvement projects at the 108 public airports in the Oklahoma Airport System are prioritized based upon safety, preservation, standards and capacity.

OAC Deputy Director Grayson Ardies estimates over the next 20 years there will be improvement needs of $1.8 billion on the overall system, with revenue projected during that time to be $1 billion.

The OAC will continue to seek solutions for the estimated $800 million shortfall.

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