Airport receives grant
by Rory Doyle
Jul 26, 2013 | 1482 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Ruleville-Drew Airport, which lies in unincorporated Sunflower County, recently received a Federal Aviation Administration grant to help rehabilitate the facility's beacon and runway.

The subsidy is part of the Airport Improvement Program, which was reauthorized in 2012 through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (Public Law No. 112-95).

The runway work is needed to maintain structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign object debris.

The grant also includes funding for asphalt overlay.

Restoration of the airport beacon will be another area of focus. The project includes replacement of the motor and gear assembly.

These improvements will enhance safety by boosting visibility of the airport to approaching aircraft.

Sterling Luna, president of the North Sunflower County Airport Board, said the money would go a long way toward developments.

"We a very pleased to receive the grant," said Luna. "We've had a lot of local traffic lately from crop dusters, and our traffic increased when we built a couple hangars last year.

"The money will really help the airport."

Luna said the overlay would provide 0.2 inch of new asphalt and seal cracks along the runway. The new pavement will also require a fresh restripe.

Luna was not completely sure when the physical work would begin, but the airport has been approved to move forward with the projects.

While the recent award cannot be used to purchase a new mower tractor, Luna said this item is also on the airport's wish list.

The U.S, Senate supported the FAA Modernization and Reform Act in 2012, clearing the way for a three-year reauthorization and reform to become law.

“This legislation gives the Federal Aviation Administration much-needed authority to improve the efficiency and safety of air travel in the United States," said Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran in a press release. "Its enactment is long overdue, but I am optimistic that the changes incorporated into this bill will benefit Mississippi and the nation.”

Cochran supported the continuation of several FAA programs that benefit Mississippi, including funding authorizations for the Airport Improvement Program, the Small Community Air Service Development Program and the Essential Air Service program.

The EAS program supports passenger air service at the Greenville, Hattiesburg/Laurel, Meridian and Tupelo airports.

Scores of airports across Mississippi have received AIP grants for safety and infrastructure improvements. HR.658 authorized this program at $3.35 billion annually from FY2012 through FY2015.