Airport to get $500,000 grant for new taxiway



By Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

TUPELO – In April, the City Council agreed to fund $500,000 to improve a taxiway and the old runway at Tupelo Regional Airport.

That deal was contingent upon the airport receiving a $500,000 multimodal grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

On Tuesday, at a work session of the council, Tupelo Regional Airport Executive Director Josh Abramson said the grant was approved.

The state-funded grants allow airports, public transit, railroads and ports to invest in infrastructure, equipment, vehicles and engineering costs for planned development. Grants are provided based on a formula including operational and economic impact and available funding.

MDOT last year funded 19 different airport projects statewide with $3.4 million.

The grant, along with the city money, will be used to build a new taxiway at the airport that will accommodate the large planes like the Boeing 747. Airport tenant Universal Asset Management disassembles those and other retired aircraft at its facility at the airport.

Airport officials say the taxiway also will benefit other airport tenants, but UAM is clearly the biggest user of the taxiway, which has continued to crumble from the weight of the planes.

Last fall, the council rejected a $1.2 million capital project request from the airport, which sought to do similar repairs. It balked at the request, saying UAM should have to pay for half of the work.

UAM, which has about 85 employees, said the taxiway work was part of the city’s responsibility, and that it was part of lease negotiations more than three years ago.

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  • tupelobeware

    Consider the following errors and omissions: printed article has $550K grant vice $550K in digital. Council was told that project was a rehabilitation/repair of old runway. Grant application with MDOT portrays project as a new taxi lane next to the old runway. Who did the design and cost estimates? Which project was used?This means that TAA will be back for more money if there ever is any interest in the land along Air Park. Ingenuous shell game! This project only supports UAM, a company that has not reached the 100 employee MDA requirement and is currently receiving less than 2 aircraft a month. This grant will not bring in a dime of net revenue to Tupelo. It’s sunk costs and Tupelo continues to pay the National Guard loan on behalf of the TAA.

  • facts