Sampson County and the City of Clinton are expected to receive more than $500,000 for improvements at the regional airport.
The North Carolina Board of Transportation recently approved state and federal funding for 27 airports throughout the state. The Clinton-Sampson County Airport (CTZ) is one of the facilities to receiving a share of the $24.7 million. Plans call for $526,000 to rehabilitate pavement at the aircraft apron in the Fixed Base Operation (FBO) area at the airport, which is jointly operated by the county and city.
Clinton City Manager Tom Hart said the apron of the FBO has aged well beyond its expected life. It’s the oldest section of pavement at the airport and the project has been on the potential project list for several years.
“When pavement gets older, it’s possible for debris from aged pavement to get kicked up by the airplanes, so it is definitely time to get repairs done,” Hart said. “The project is essential to moving the airport forward and we were very pleased when to learn it has been funded.”
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), reported that a decision was made during a July board meeting to make improvements such as runway lighting, new fuel tanks and safer taxiways. Officials stated that state airports are a vital economic engine connecting people and business enterprises with the world. It was also said that North Carolina’s airports are a primary economic driver in communities.
One of the largest distributions listed is a total of $3.2 million at Wayne Executive Jetport in Pikeville to reimburse for land purchased and for future construction of four new hangars and a new apron and taxiway. Another is the Mount Airy Surry County Airport, which is expected to receive more than $2 million to upgrade taxiway pavement and complete environmental mitigation.
According to a 2016 report from NCDOT’s Division of Aviation, the flying industry contributes more than $31 billion to the state’s economy each year. There are 123,400 airport-related jobs in North Carolina. NCDOT’s aviation division is in charge of airport and aviation system planning and development. It also provides funding to local communities for constructing and improving airports.
Hart expressed how CTZ is one of 72 public airports across the state that’s part of the aviation infrastructure.
“Like any other transportation infrastructure, CTZ plays a role moving people and things and represents one more connection between our community and the rest of the world,” Hart said. “In addition to supporting existing industries, airports are also often cited as having a critical role in attracting companies and industries.”
More than 20 aircrafts, from small single engine planes to corporate jets are based at the Clinton-Sampson Airport. It also supports crop dusting, specialized deliveries, professionals and executives who travel to the area.
“Airports like CTZ play a critical role during disasters to deploy supplies and people into affected areas,” Hart said.
NCDOT officials stated that funds awarded do not represent the total cost of a project, in all cases. CTZ and local officials are working with WK Dickson, a consulting firm, to proceed into the design and bidding stages of the project. Construction is expected to start in 2019.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-592-8137. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.