CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that he has requested more than $1.1 million, needed to jump-start a major project to make proactive improvements to the Runway Safety Area at Huntington Tri-State Airport.
The funding would be the state match required to utilize another $10 million in federal funding in order to get the first phases of the project underway.
"Airports are our heart, they’re our lifeblood, they’re the very first thing that we have to have to start growth," Gov. Justice said during a press conference in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol. "I always believed it’s just this way: it’s airports, it’s schools, and it’s roads. And then, from there, all the other stuff just seems to fall in place."
The Governor has requested the funds needed to begin the project from the West Virginia Infrastructure Jobs Development Council.
The Department of Commerce will formally request the funds from the IJDC. Then, leaders with the council will review the request and give final approval before the funds can be officially transferred for use on the project.
The project consists of improving 1,400 feet of Runway Safety Area (RSA) along the south edge of the airfield.
A previous wildlife mitigation project, next to the RSA, revealed a slope stability issue hidden by impounded water. The project funded by the monies announced by Gov. Justice today would aim to stabilize the existing slope supporting the RSA, which will require over 1.2 million cubic yards of soil to be moved.
"You’ve got part of the runway is in danger, for god sakes of living," Gov. Justice said. "Again, this airport is the heart, the lifeblood…we had to get it done."
Gov. Justice was joined at the announcement by U.S. Congresswoman Carol Miller, who helped secure the $10 million in federal funding to get the ball rolling on the project.
"The powers that be all came to Congresswoman Miller and myself and said, 'Okay, now look, we’ve got a real problem here and we’ve got to be able to find a million dollars to get Carol’s 10 million dollars,'" Gov. Justice said. "Well, we get it done. We just do it. And that’s all there is to it."
The overall improvement project will be done in multiple phases and has an estimated total cost of $25 million-$35 million to complete in full.
Gov. Justice has now committed more than $24 million to airports all across West Virginia over the past month alone from multiple funding sources.
"You should be very, very proud of all the stuff we’re doing in West Virginia, because it’s better today," Gov. Justice said. "We still have a long ways to go, but we’re really moving in the right direction."