WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., announced Friday that airports in La Grande, Cave Junction, Prineville and Gleneden Beach have earned a total of more than $9.1 million in federal grants for improvements to runways, taxiways, guidance systems and more.
“Oregonians living and working in rural communities throughout our state know full well that small airports are essential centerpieces to build their economy and quality-of-life,” Wyden said. “These federal investments in local infrastructure are always important, and especially now when rural Oregon is working overtime to deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.”
“One of the most important things we can do right now to help our communities weather the coronavirus crisis is to focus on building a strong foundation for our future,” said Merkley. “The critical upgrades funded by these grants are going to enhance the safety and efficiency of our airports, keep our communities and businesses connected, and help us build that foundation.”
The $9.11 million in U.S. Department of Transportation grants are distributed as follows:
- La Grande Airport, $5.62 million to construct apron and taxiway, extend taxiway, install airfield guidance
- Illinois Valley Airport, Cave Junction, $2.05 million to reconstruct taxiway, rehabilitate apron, rehabilitate runway
- Prineville Airport, $1.31 million to install airfield guidance signs and runway vertical/visual guidance system
- Siletz Bay State Airport, Gleneden Beach, $135,468 to improve airport drainage, reconstruct runway, reconstruct taxiway
“I applaud this announcement and offer Director Doug Wright credit for bringing such a strong project that garnered bipartisan support of our Oregon Congressional Delegation in looking out for the infrastructure needs of rural airports,” said Union County Commissioner Paul Anderes.
“We are extremely grateful for the federal support our two airports receive,” said Josephine County Airports Director Larry Graves. “This grant will restore the runway of the Illinois Valley Airport which is of vital importance to the residents of the area and to all of Josephine County. Thank you, Senators Wyden and Merkley.”
“Director Graves has worked steadily towards improving the Illinois Valley Airport,” said Josephine County Commissioner Lily Morgan. “The County believes this airport is critical infrastructure providing support for the economic viability of the Illinois Valley as well as a key location for wildland fire response. We are pleased to have the support of this federal grant to improve the runway.”