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Governor Phil Bredesen announced today an Aeronautics Grant in the amount of $800,000 has been awarded to the Smithville Municipal Airport in Dekalb County to assist with improvements to that facility.
General aviation airports are critical to the economic development of communities across the state, said Governor Bredesen. These airports provide quick access for businesses, serve as reliever airports for local flight centers and are important shipping hubs. In order to stay competitive these airports must be kept up to date.
The grant funds will be used for the construction of a new T-hangar, taxiway and apron.
This grant will help this airport meet the growing needs of the community it serves, added enator Mae Beavers. I'm pleased the state could assist with this project.
This is exactly the kind of investment I hope the state continues to make in our general aviation transportation system, commented Representative Frank Buck. It is extremely important to this area's economy.
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely explained that the grants are made available through the department's Aeronautics Division.
This Division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee's diverse public aviation system, reported Nicely. We are pleased to be able to provide millions of dollars each year for the betterment of our airports through our grant programs.
Grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state airport system plan.
These grants can have a significant impact on the future of a general aviation airport and its economic contributions to our state," said TAC Chairman Lonnie Strunk. "Our board examines the applications carefully to ensure that the funds will be put to good use."
The TDOT Aeronautics Division also has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state's 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. General aviation includes all aircraft not flown by commercial airlines or the military. The Aeronautics Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government executives, staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission, and numerous educational support programs. The division's offices include Administration, Finance & Grant Management, Engineering & Program Development, Flight Services, and Planning & Programming.