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Published: Wednesday, 8/29/2012

Toledo Express wins $5.7M runway grant


Toledo Express Airport has received a $5.7 million federal grant to repave its main runway, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority said Tuesday.

"Toledo Express continues to play a key role in regional economic development strategy," Miss Kaptur said in a statement announcing the Federal Aviation Administration funds. "Logistics is one of our region's key strengths, and the airport obviously plays a key role in offering a multimodal solution to employers."

The grant is a mix of "formula" and "discretionary" funding -- the former allocated to Toledo Express annually, the latter awarded competitively to airports in response to grant applications, said Paul Toth, president of the port authority, which operates Toledo Express under a lease from the city of Toledo.

The port authority in May awarded a $9.5 million contract to Miller Brothers Construction of Archbold, Ohio, subject to receipt of FAA funding, to resurface the 10,600-foot-long, 150-footwide runway and install in-runway lights to improve bad-weather landing capability.

Overall, the port authority expects federal funds to cover 90 percent of the cost. Several years' worth of formula grants are assigned to the work, Mr. Toth said. The grant's timing means that the paving is unlikely to occur before spring, the port president said, but "we'll do a lot of the preparatory work, and shop drawings, yet this fall."

The project will be set up to disrupt airport operations as little as possible, Mr. Toth said. The ends can be done by temporarily shortening the runway's official length, and the work in the middle will require scheduling around flights that can't use the shorter, crosswind runway, he said.

"It's achievable, it just requires a lot of coordination and scheduling," Mr. Toth said, noting that the same effort was required in 1998, when the last main-runway repaving project had to be worked around BAX Global Inc.'s cargo-hub schedule five nights a week. BAX shut down its hub operation just under a year ago.

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