FAA Measure Would Open Federal Funding Source to Former N.M. Air Base

FAA Measure Would Open Federal Funding Source to Former N.M. Air Base

A former Air Force base in southeastern New Mexico would become eligible for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Military Airport Program (MAP), a source of capital funding for former military airfields and joint use airports, under language in the five-year FAA authorization bill passed by the House Wednesday. The provision would extend eligibility for the program to former installations closed after Jan. 1, 1966, allowing the Roswell International Air Center to apply for grants under MAP, a set-aside of the Airport Improvement Program which covers projects such as building or rehabilitating parking lots, fuel farms, hangars, utility systems, access roads, cargo buildings and other airfield projects.

The program currently is limited to installations whose closure or realignment was announced after Sept. 30, 1977, which generally limits participants to bases closed or realigned since the BRAC era began. The Roswell airport formerly was Walker AFB, a Strategic Air Command installation closed in June 1967.

After the FAA turned down the airport’s prior attempts to apply for the program, the city worked with its federal representatives to amend MAP’s criteria, reported the Roswell Daily Record. “We are, if anything, a poster child for what MAP was intended for,” said Mayor Dennis Kintigh “This gives us the opportunity to seriously address fundamental infrastructure out there. … We don’t have the money — the city doesn’t have the money and the state doesn’t even have the money. And the intention of the Military Airport Program was to assist communities transitioning from a military base economy to an economy dealing with civil aviation,” he said.

Until the Senate finishes its consideration of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, it’s not clear when the chamber will take up the FAA authorization measure, H.R. 302.

Photo courtesy of Aeroprints.com

Dan Cohen
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