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Arlington Airport gets grants for emergency generator

ARLINGTON — The Arlington Municipal Airport is one of 23 Washington airports to receive state Department of Transportation Airport Aid Grants to preserve those facilities and improve aviation safety.

Of the nearly $1 million in such state grants recently awarded to 29 different airport projects, the Arlington Municipal Airport received $2,887.50 for the purchase and installation of an emergency generator.

This marks the second round of WSDOT Airport Aid Grants issued during the 2011-13 biennium. These state grants, combined with local matching contributions, enabled WSDOT's Aviation Division to leverage about $32 million in federal grants for federally-funded airports. Of the state's 137 public-use airports, 66 are eligible for federal funds, while the remaining 71 rely solely on state and local funds.

"It's a strength of our grant program that we are able to use a relatively small amount of state dollars to leverage millions in federal funds," said Tristan Atkins, WSDOT aviation director. "It allows us to make a bigger impact with limited resources."

The Arlington Municipal Airport's emergency generator purchase and installation also received $103,950 in federal funds, which Arlington Assistant City Administrator Kristin Banfield explained would operate all the lighting on the airport's main north-south runway in case of a power outage or emergency.

"The generator is a large enough size that it will carry us into the future, should we opt to light the crosswind runway or the taxiways in the future," Banfield said. "Without this grant funding, we would not be doing this project right now. We are very fortunate to receive these grants, and appreciate the efforts of the FAA and WSDOT Aviation to help out general aviation airports in these tough times."

Thirty-nine airports competed for grants during this round, requesting a total of about $4 million. WSDOT is typically able to fund about $1 million in Airport Aid Grants every year. The grant program is funded by a user fee of 11 cents per gallon of aviation fuel, along with aircraft registration fees.

WSDOT plans to call for applications for the first round of 2013-15 biennium grants in March and April of next year. Awards for that round should be announced by July of 2013.

Learn more about the Airport Aid Grant Program online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/aviation/Grants/default.

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