Monroe Regional Airport will soon have a resurfaced runway and taxiway to complement its new showplace of a terminal scheduled to open in October.
The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded $4.2 million to rehabilitate the airport’s secondary runway and primary taxiway. The state will provide a 5 percent match to the grant.
“This project might not be as flashy as the new terminal, but it’s just as important,” Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said. “We’re grateful (U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander), our entire congressional delegation and the FAA made this a priority for funding.
“Once the new terminal is open and the other infrastructure improvements are made, northeastern Louisiana’s Gateway to the World will be world class.”
Alexander, R-Quitman, has consistently secured federal funding for the airport for the past decade.
“This airport is a key building block for regional economic expansion,” he said. “It connects us to the rest of the world. Companies like CenturyLink, Chase, Gardner-Denver and ConAgra must have access to a vibrant commercial airport if they are to continue to grow and create jobs here.”
Airport manager Cleve Norrell said expansions at those companies and more have helped increase boardings at the airport. Norrell said boardings were up 17 percent in 2010 and could exceed that pace for growth this year.
The new $36 million terminal is set to open sometime in October.
Norrell also is optimistic the airport will receive another $1.5 million from the FAA so the full extent of the rehabilitation projects can be complete.
“We’re confident that we’ll get it, but it has to work its way through the process,” he said.
Norrell said work on the runway and taxiway should begin within 45 days and be complete sometime early next year.
“The secondary runway is in pretty bad shape because when we added the new lighting and rehabilitated the main runway, it took all the traffic,” Norrell said. “Once the terminal opens and this work is done we’ll have a brand new facility. Monroe and our whole region can be proud of this new airport.”