AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A federal grant is pouring money into small and rural airports across Georgia.
The goal is to improve their performance and impact on the communities they serve.
Daniel Field is one of those airports getting money.
A total of $3.4 million is being invested into small, rural, and regional aviation infrastructures after Senators Warnock and Ossoff secured extra funds.
Airports like Daniel Field can be overlooked.
“Every once in a while when we get a grant such as the B.I.L. It’s manna from heaven. How’s that,” Daniel Field Airport Manager Becky Shealy said.
But Daniel Field Manager Becky Shealy says that when it comes to extra funds, Daniel Field makes the best of it.
“We are replacing all of the airfield lighting. The lighting that we have right now is antiquated at best. We’re to the point where we’re having issues getting replacement parts like bulbs. So, we are ripping all of that out, putting new lighting in: LED, the whole power cables, everything,” Shealy said.
Over the next five years, the airport will receive a $295,000 grant each year to be used for things like safety and economic development.
“The airport is required to have landing lights and runway lights, and if those lights are inoperable, then you have to close the airport. So, that is a safety issue,” Shealy said.
Daniel Field sits within 3 miles of each major hospital in the Augusta area, so making sure their infrastructure is up to safety standards is key.
“We are a critical necessity for anybody that’s coming in for organ transplant, or anyone that’s medical. We get medical flights all the time because of the fact that we are so close to the hospitals in the area,” Shealy said.
Aside from this one project, she says these funds will help support the housekeeping fixer-ups.
“The weight of the aircraft can put welts into the pavement, so you have to – every once, every so often – you have to do a pavement study, and if your, your airport runways need rehabilitation, then that’s something that is required by the state and federal government,” Shealy said.
New renovations for the runway are to be expected by the first part of June.