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Hettinger, Mott airports to get improvements, partially funded by federal grants

Thanks to grant funding from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission and Federal Aviation Administration, Hettinger and Mott airports will undergo improvement projects costing nearly half a million dollars.

Money was granted to general aviation public airports totaling $958,121 and to air carrier airports for $1.3 million across the state.

NDAC Aviation Planner Kyle Wanner said the grant program is useful for all airports, but is especially beneficial to smaller public operations.

"They don't operate on a large budget at all," he said. "If they weren't able to apply for grants, they probably wouldn't be able to do these projects."

Mott Airport was awarded money for crack sealing on the runway and plans for a new hanger, which will cost more than $40,000, Manager Rex Kelsch said. He added that improvements would not be possible without grant funding.

"Most of our airport is government money," he said. "If we didn't have that, there wouldn't be an


Wanner said the funding for the NDAC grants comes from taxes on aviation fuels and airplane sales in the state.

"We give the money back to support the aviation infrastructure," he said.

The bulk of the project expenses are funded by the FAA, who usually supplies money for 95 percent of the cost, Wanner said.

The NDAC matches the airport's contribution, which is generally 2.5 percent of the project cost, Wanner said.

Hettinger Municipal Airport Manager J.B. Lindquist said the funding will be used to build a "terminal," which he said will be a building for patrons to get out of the weather and serve as a storage facility for snow removal equipment.

"We have a terminal that is 35 years old, but it is showing a little wear and tear," he said, adding that the cost is expected to be upwards of $400,000.

Each year the FAA gives entitlement money of about $150,000 annually to airports from the tax money collected, which the airports are able to save over a three-year period to help fund improvement projects, Wanner said. Once enough funding has been banked by airports to cover their portion of the expense, officials can apply for grants from the FAA and NDAC.

Lindquist said the last major improvement at the Hettinger Airport was the addition of a fueling station about five years ago. He said that sometimes it can be a wait for funding for projects, but it is necessary to make the improvements.

"If you don't constantly update over a period of years, the first thing you notice is everything is worn out," he said. "So logic says, you get in line, wait your turn, and if your turn comes around and you have the money you can provide for your share, the FAA says there is money and the state puts in money, and we get a building."

Wanner said funds are distributed based on a priority ranking and recommendation by NDAC staff.

Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport was awarded over $64,000 to help complete projects totaling over half a million dollars.

Dickinson Manager Matthew Remynse was unavailable for comment Wednesday.