Special to The Ely Times
The Yelland Airport recently received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to reconstruct the airport taxiway.
U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation stating, “In order to strengthen our rural economies and make our rural communities more accessible, we must improve and enhance our infrastructure. I commend the U.S. Department of Transportation for recognizing the importance of strengthening our economy, connecting Nevadans and continuing to invest in the infrastructure needs of our rural communities.”
On March 23, the President signed H.R. 1625, The legislation provided the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program an additional $1 billion in discretionary grants, to enable the Secretary of Transportation to make grants for projects as authorized by subchapter 1 of chapter 471 and subchapter 1 of chapter 475 of title 49, United States Code.
The Act also stipulated that the Secretary shall give priority consideration to projects at nonprimary airports that are classified as Regional, local, or basic airports and not located within a Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the Office of Management and Budget.
White Pine County Commissioner Steve Stork explained that White Pine County was a big beneficiary of H.R.1625, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. “This act was opposed by Dina Titus of Nevada’s 1st Congressional District and Ruben Kihuen who represents White Pine County in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District.”
Stork went on to note that for the past three years, White Pine County has received Airport Capital Improvement grants that have led towards the complete reconstruction of the main runway at the Yelland airport.
“White Pine County has had to match these grants at a rate of 6.25 percent. This has meant a local contribution approaching $1 million over the past three years. The great benefit to White Pine County in the discretionary funding provided by H.R.1625, is there is no requirement for matching funds for projects at the local level,” Stork said.
Armstrong Consultants, WPC’s airport engineering firm had the reconstruction of the main taxiway slated for work in 2019. When the discretionary funding provided by H.R.1625 came available with President Trumps signature, Armstrong was able to complete an expedited application for close to $5 million to fully fund the taxiway project this year and at a savings of near $300,000 to the people of White Pine County.
Airport Manager Lance Gale was contacted for comment, but was unavailable.
Although Representative Ruben Kihuen voted against this act, he released a news release that stated “Today’s announcement from the Department of Transportation is welcome news for the residents of White Pine County.
“This federal funding will be used to reconstruct the taxiway at the Ely Airport, which will improve the infrastructure and increase transportation options for rural Nevadans. We must continue to make investments in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure to bring it up to 21st Century standards. I will continue to use my position in Congress to bring more federal funding to the Silver State.”