SWEETWATER COUNTY– The Sweetwater County Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to provide funding to Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport in the case the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants funds to the airport for the commercial terminal modernization project.
The funding from the commissioners would provide the local match to the FAA supplemental funding. According to airport manager, Devon Brubaker, current estimations for the local match is $172,000.
Brubaker recently received a survey from the Wyoming Department of Transportation and the FAA to forward to the Board of Commissioners as well as the City of Rock Springs to find answers to two questions:
- How much local money will be available for a local match for the next three fiscal years?
- How quickly can they accept supplemental funding?
According to Brubaker, the FAA told him the project is “very well positioned for funding.” Brubaker added that every time a project is funded by the FAA, the commercial terminal modernization project moves up the list.
Over 2,700 projects have put in for the funding, and 127 projects have been funded so far.
Brubaker told the commissioners that the City of Rock Springs was able to move quickly in approving his request for funding for a local match, even putting it on their agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting. The Rock Springs City Council approved the airport’s funding request for $133,333.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Sweetwater County and the City of Rock Springs once again on a critical infrastructure project for the airport and all of Sweetwater County,” Brubaker said. “This project, much like we have experienced with our new General Aviation Terminal and Hangar Complex, will have an immediate positive impact on the airport through increased revenues and passengers. The Terminal serves as one of two gateways we have to our community, the other being the highway system. It is critical that we have the facilities that residents and passengers expect of a modern airport and that we have facilities that are characteristic of a progressive community as we work to attract new economic drivers to our region.”
The conservative estimated cost of the project is $18 million, Brubaker said. With the supplemental funding from the FAA, $2 million of the airport’s entitlement funds, as well as $3 million of Wyoming Business Council funding, which Brubaker believes they should receive, he estimates the local match will be close to $400,000.
The county has already granted the airport $133,333 of funding for the project, which went towards phase one of the project- conceptual design.
Without supplemental funding, the local match for any then possible federal funding could be as much as $5 million. The project is still scheduled to take place for the Fiscal Year 2021, whether or not the supplemental funding is received or not.
Providing the local match if or when the federal funding is offered increases the airport’s chances of receiving the FAA funding.
“I think $172,000 in an $18 million project is a no-brainer,” Commissioner Jeff Smith said.
Brubaker told the commissioner that if the FAA funding offered is $200,000 more or less than expected, the local match will change. However, he assured the commission that he would come to them before accepting the funding if the number changes.
Brubaker said the airport is nearly finished with the conceptual renderings and design estimates, which is phase one of the project. Then they will conduct a terminal area plan and WYDOT and the FAA will do a study and reevaluation.
Phase two of the project will be the terminal feasibility study.