BILLINGS – The Billings Logan International Airport will receive about $1 million of federal grant money to buy new aircraft rescue and fire equipment, as well as partially fund the upcoming terminal expansion project in 2019.
“This grant will help us secure new equipment that will be good for the next decade or so,” said Billings Airport Director of Aviation and Transit Kevin Ploehn.
This money will allow the Billings airport to purchase about $200,000 worth aircraft rescue and firefighting equipment.
Ploehn said some of the current firefighting equipment has expiration dates that are about to be reached.
The remaining $800,000 will help pay for the design and architecture work that has gone into planning the Billings Airport’s terminal expansion.
“A lot of effort has gone ahead of the actual construction starting in September,” Ploehn said. “Of course that all costs money too. All the design work and engineering and all that stuff that’s had to take place.”
Work on the expansion is scheduled to start September 23rd and be complete in 2023. The total cost adds up to about $50 million.
Ploehn said he’s hoping the federal government will come through with a few more grants before the year is out.
“We’ll probably get a couple more grants this year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I know we’ll get at least one more. Two would be great. When that happens – wonderful. Each year we get notification from the senators office and we always are thankful that they’re out there helping support our local community and our local airport. It’s really important to us.”
According to a Tuesday release from Montana Senator Steve Daines’ office, the $1 million the Billings airport is getting is part of a larger $47 million in funding that will be given to airports across Montana.
Ploehn said the grant is part of the Airport Improvement Program under the Department of Transportation.
The Airport Improvement Program is made up of money collected from ticket and plane fuel taxes.
Montana Senator John Tester is also taking some credit for the Billings airport grant, saying in a Tuesday release, “In a state as big as Montana, air travel is critical to keeping folks connected and this grant will make air travel in and out of Billings quicker, safer, and more reliable than ever.”
Tester is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.
Daines wrote, “It’s critical Montana has the best air travel infrastructure in the country. These grants will lead to more jobs and development in Montana’s rural communities.”
Daines is a member of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee.