Roswell Daily Record: FAA grant to provide $2.1 million for local airport runway project

By:  Staff

Roswell has received more than $2.1 million in federal funds to complete the final portion of a three-phase runway repair project.

Federal Aviation Administration grants for the Roswell International Air Center and Artesia Municipal Airport will pay for the work on runways. Artesia will receive $3.15 million, while Roswell has been allocated $2.14 million.

The awards were announced by the two U.S. senators from New Mexico, both Democrats. Sen. Tom Udall, who lives in Santa Fe, serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Martin Heinrich, of Albuquerque.

The Roswell project will involve repairs to runway 3/21, one of the airport’s two runways.

The final phase, which involves excavating the asphalt on the outer portions of a middle section of the runway, will take about 75 days once work begins, said Scott Stark, interim director of the Air Center.

“We don’t have a start time yet because we don’t know when the funds will be here,” said Stark. “All we have received is the initial notification.”

The entire runway project has cost about $21 million, Stark said. About 90.3 percent has come from federal monies, while the remainder has been provided by city and state sources.

The first phase involved repair of 5,000 feet on the north end of the runaway. The second phase repaired portions of about 5,000 feet on the southwest end.

Stark said that Constructors Inc. is doing the work on all phases of the project. Constructors Inc. is based in Carlsbad but also has local operations.

Artesia’s grant funds will be used to reconstruct about 3,300 feet of runway, according to an announcement about the grants. That project is also the final of a three-phase construction project.

In a statement, Udall said that he supported funding to “strengthen our state’s air transportation infrastructure to make travel easier and safer for New Mexicans and visitors.”

Heinrich’s statement noted that the airports in Roswell and Artesia serve various federal facilities, including the International Law Enforcement Academy in Roswell and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

“These investments will update two of New Mexico’s airports and keep our state a prime destination for business and tourism,” Heinrich said in the statement.

Both senators also remarked that the Roswell airport American Airline flights to and from Phoenix and Dallas are important to the area economy.