By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
UNDATED - Airports in northeast Oklahoma have some good news amidst this economy in crisis. Several municipal airports will receive millions of dollars in stimulus money. But, what is the money going to be used for?
The Federal Aviation Administration is giving $16 million to several Oklahoma airports. Of that, $6 million will be split up between the Okmulgee and Bartlesville Airports.
Kansan Ron Ross flies out of the Bartlesville Airport once a week. He and other pilots have some ideas on how the stimulus money could be put to use. Six Oklahoma airports will get a boost from the Federal Aviation Administration's stimulus funding.
Bartlesville will get $4 million to completely repave and restripe its runway.
"The runway itself is in need of resurfacing, so it'll protect airplanes that land here and be a great safety factor," said Bartlesville pilot Mike Tessman.
Also benefiting from the $16 million stimulus package is the Okmulgee Municipal Airport. They'll get $2 million to design a parallel runway so taxiing planes don't have to cross the main one.
Stillwater Regional Airport is getting about a third of the overall funding. Its $6 million cut will go for runway upkeep.
Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City gets $2 million for runway lighting. And, $1.7 million will go to Pauls Valley Municipal Airport for runway safety space.
"A transportation mechanism like an airport allows, like, those kinds of corporate jets to come in and come out, and it's an absolute necessity to sustain enterprise," said Bartlesville pilot Brian Brurud.
The Bartlesville runway hasn't seen maintenance in 20 plus years.
"It's something that's well needed, and I think well deserved," said Director of Engineering Terry Lauritsen.
Pilots say a good regional airport brings in money because out-of-town pilots like Ross have to pay for hangar space and fuel.
"It will help aviation. Aviation needs a boost right now," said Ron Ross.
So, even by flying high in the sky, pilots say this is a stimulus plan that helps the economy, down below.
Bartlesville officials say the runway repaving will begin in June.
Officials at the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission tell The News On 6 that Tulsa International Airport and Jones Riverside Airport applied separately to the FAA. So, they're not getting any improvement funds from this stimulus package.