Idaho Falls airport wins million-dollar grant

Idaho Falls airport wins million-dollar grant

By Jessica Crandall POSTED: 10:08 PM MDT Jun 12, 2012 UPDATED: 10:25 PM MDT Jun 12, 2012 IDAHO FALLS, Idaho –

The Idaho Falls Regional Airport will make some big improvements this upcoming year thanks to a million dollar grant coming from the Federal Aviation Administration.

This is something they apply for every year, but as airport manager Len Nelson puts it, has been increasingly difficult to get due to the struggling economy.
The most noticeable improvement will be right at the ticket counter.
Instead of hauling your bag over to the TSA drop-off booth, you can hand it in when you print off your itinerary.
Airport spokesman Len Nelson said every grant is hard to come by these days.
"We’re on the chopping block every year and we have to fight for those funds," said Nelson.

This is especially true since money for transportation is considered to be discretionary. It’s not the priority that social security or Medicaid would be federally.
This year Idaho’s congressional delegation lobbied on behalf of the airport and won more than one million dollars in funding.

So what will they do with all that money?

Nelson said he plans on expanding the south end of the terminal and consolidating TSA with the ticket counter, which passengers seem to whole-heartedly love

"They’re going make it like a normal airport where you give them your baggage right there and they take it from you. Then they take it back to where it’s supposed to be," said Russell Hoffer.

The airport will also create more ramp space for diverted or overnight planes.
They will invest in new snow equipment to clear the runways.

This won’t happen all at once though.

"We don’t have enough money to do it all this year. We can’t do the design and get the snow removal equipment and do the construction all in one year. You have to phase it in," said Nelson.

Actual construction won’t begin until May of 2013.

Nelson is just glad to actually have money to work with this year.
"Now we can at least plan for the next three years what our projects are going to be," said Nelson.

This isn’t the only airport in the region to get a grant nod. Pocatello received money for runway improvement as well.

Nelson said the FAA grants are based on how large each airport is and how many passengers fly through it.

· Copyright 2012 NPG of Idaho.

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