Friday , February 09, 2018 - 5:00 AM1 comment
OGDEN — As Ogden City explores ways to make its airport profitable, a large chunk of new money from the federal government would help reconstruct runways.
The Ogden administration and council are working through the latest city Capital Improvement Plan — a blueprint that prioritizes and ranks infrastructure projects that could be completed over the next five years.
The 2019-2023 CIP includes a more than $5 million project to overhaul the Ogden-Hinckley Airport's apron and taxiway.
According to city council documents, the project would “resurface and realign” the airport's Bravo, Charlie and Delta taxiways. The facility's fourth taxiway, called Alta, doesn't need any work.
Ogden Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson said the city expects to receive $5 million from the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program fund to pay for construction. The city would be required to provide a $500,000 match to complete the project.
The FAA money is expected to come sometime after July 1, the beginning of Ogden's fiscal year, Johnson said.
A project listed on the CIP doesn't necessarily mean it will be completed during the five-year time frame, but Johnson said the airport project is an immediate priority.
“We're lucky to have this money,” he said. “So this is one of the projects (on the CIP) that we need to fund because that FAA money is there.”
Johnson said adjustments to airport operations will be necessary while the project is completed, but the city expects to keep the airport operating during the work.
“That'll be part of the bidding process,” he said. “Whoever we get to do the work will have to have a plan for some workarounds. Obviously, we want to keep the airport fully functional.”
Johnson said the project will have an indirect impact on the airport’s commercial service operation.
“(Construction) won't directly impact our commercial service as much because a lot of this area is used more by general aviation,” he said. “But long-term, we want to keep the airport viable and this is a big part of that.”
Allegiant Air has offered Ogden service to Mesa, Arizona, since 2012 and began Los Angeles service in October 2017. Flights to Oakland, California, are tentatively set to begin sometime in 2018 and the company is also considering service to Orlando, Florida.
The discount airline briefly offered service to Las Vegas, but those flights were suspended near the end of 2017 due to dwindling passenger numbers.
For the last decade or so, the city has spent between $500,000 and $750,000 a year subsidizing the airport. The subsidy comes from the city's General Fund, but officials in Ogden say raiding the fund to keep the airport afloat is unsustainable.
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