YVRA gets funding grant

CDOT will cover $110,000 of matching cost for improvements

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— Routt County commissioners approved a grant agreement Tuesday to help fund improvements at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

YVRA is set to receive $110,000 from the Colorado Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Division. Under the deal, the airport will match those funds with $110,000 from its reserve fund.

The $220,000 will cover the 5 percent match required for YVRA to get Federal Aviation Administration funds for a new fire truck and repairs to one of the taxiways, Airport Manager Dave Ruppel said. He expects the CDOT money to arrive this summer and hopes to do the projects this year.

The upgrades will cost about $4.4 million.

Federal lawmakers haven't passed an FAA authorization measure to replace the previous bill, which expired in September. The delay has left funding in question, Ruppel said. Without reauthorization, the FAA can fund projects up to only 75 percent of their cost, he said.

But YVRA officials have planned their projects to allow them to complete most of the work without that last 25 percent, Ruppel said.

"The fire truck will not be impacted at all, and the taxiway rehabilitation has been structured so that there is a natural stopping point at the 75 percent point if no more funding is available," he wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.

Ruppel said he was confident that YVRA would get some money.

"According to the FAA, we should be in pretty good shape for 75 percent of this funding, so our projects will be able to move ahead," he wrote.

The airport is replacing one of its two fire trucks because of increased passenger traffic, Ruppel said last month. The existing truck holds 1,500 gallons of water, and the new truck will hold 3,000, he said. The truck could cost $700,000 to $1 million, Ruppel said. The project is out for bidding.

YVRA has not started taking bids for the taxiway project. Ruppel told county commissioners that four potential bidders attended a pre-bid conference last week.

"We'll know more in a couple of weeks" about FAA funding, he told the panel. "We'll receive bids later this week, but we won't be able to open them till the FAA lets us."

That delay could put the airport at a disadvantage, Ruppel said.

"It's not a good position to be in," he said. Ruppel added that bids are typically good for 90 days but that the troubled economy could change that.

"In the worst case, we'd have to go out again for bids this summer," he said. If that occurs, "my guess would be that we probably wouldn't get to do it this year."

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