Airport funds discussed today | SteamboatToday.com
Christine Metz

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Airport funds discussed today

Routt County Commissioners said they hope to decide today if they will move forward with an airport expansion project that was bid at $2 million more than was budgeted.

Commissioner Nancy Stah-oviak said Monday that they are working with the lone bidder, Connell Resources, to lower the bid amount. The hopes are to start the project, which includes expanding the aircraft parking ramp and making a new access road at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, this summer.

The engineer had estimated the cost of the improvements at $7.5 million, and the bid came in for $9.4 million. County Manager Tom Sullivan said they are getting “pretty close” to closing that gap. He also said there was an opportunity to find additional state grants to help fund the project.

All three commissioners said they want to start the work this summer and that the effects of not doing so could postpone the project for another few years.

“That is our focus right now, to try to make it work,” Sullivan said.

If the county were to hold off on building the project this year, Sullivan said it could take another couple of years to receive Federal Aviation Administration funding again. This spring, the county received $5.4 million from the FAA for the improvement project. The money came from the FAA discretionary fund, allowing the organization to choose to whom to give money. Next spring, the county might not receive as high of priority, Commission Doug Monger said.

Putting the project out to bid a second time this summer is not an option. If the county wanted to bid the project again, they needed to do so by Friday, Sullivan said.

In addition to the expanded ramp and new access road, the project includes expanded parking lots. The ramp alone accounts for $5.4 million of the total. It would allow the airport to accommodate more of the larger passenger jets, such as the Boeing 757.

Right now, the airport is out of FAA compliance in parking the large airplanes, Monger said.

The terminal building expansion, which is paired with the ramp expansion within Phase 2 of the YVRA expansion project, already has been pushed to next summer because of a postponement of federal grants. Originally, both projects were slated for this summer.