Auburn Municipal Airport, which began operations in 1969, is one of the busiest of its kind in the state. REPORTER FILE PHOTO

Auburn Municipal Airport, which began operations in 1969, is one of the busiest of its kind in the state. REPORTER FILE PHOTO

City applies to FAA for $3.1 million to extend airport runway

Officials: longer runway would bring in more business

By extending the length of its runway, city officials hope to make Auburn Municipal Airport safer for planes and ratchet up its capacity to handle the present and forecast fleet of multi-engineer piston aircraft for takeoff and accelerated-stop distances.

Extending the runway would bring in more business, of course, but at an estimated construction cost of $3,450,000, spendy.

On Monday, the Auburn City Council approved the city’s application for $3.1 million in Federal Aviation Administration grant funds to put toward the project. If the city gets that grant, it alone would cover 90 percent of the construction cost.

The city’s schema then has Auburn and the state kicking in the final 10 percent, 5 percent each.

Last week, the Washington Department of Transportation notified the city it wouldn’t be receiving the $150,000 grant it had applied for this year to apply to the project. At WSDOT’s urging, however, the city expects to apply to it again in 2020 for a $175,000 state grant. If the city lands the grant, that money would be in the bank before the airport extension is completed.

“You can see that we are really fiscally trying to get the most out of our money,” City Council member Largo Wales said before the council’s unanimous yes vote.

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Funding breakdown

Where the money will come to pay for the Auburn Municipal Airport runway extension.

• Federal funds: $3.1 million, 90 percent

• WSDOT: $175,000, 5 percent

• City: $175,000, 5 percent

• Total: $3.45 million

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