By Cole Avery, Office of U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham
WASHINGTON – Three airports across Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District will receive about $19.8 million in grant funding awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-Alto) announced Tuesday, Sept. 12.
The England Economic and Industrial Development District in Alexandria stands to receive the bulk of the funding, banking $17,867,492 from four grants, though airports in Monroe and Vidalia will also receive some money from grants.
The money comes as part of the airport’s involvement in the Airport Improvement Program’s Military Airport Program, a designation Abraham helped the airport achieve so that it could help facilitate missions associated with the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk.
“Alexandria and its airport provide important services that directly contribute to the mission of the Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Center,” said Abraham, a member of Alto Baptist Church. “Showing continued investments in public infrastructure that support Alexandria and Fort Polk will show the military our community’s commitment to the success of Fort Polk, which will help make sure we continue to have a thriving base in the region,” said Abraham, a veteran and pilot who serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
The grants will go toward adding additional runway space to facilitate travel for large military aircraft, constructing new service roads, repaving and enhancing existing runways, installing wildlife perimeter fencing and implementing noise mitigation measures. The project is expected to create jobs, benefit the traveling public and increase the competitiveness of the airport.
“The England Authority would like to thank the Louisiana delegation – and especially Congressman Ralph Abraham – for his support in improving AEX and creating jobs in Central Louisiana,” said Charlie Weems, chairman of the authority.
In addition to the funding for Alexandria, the Concordia Parish Airport Authority in Vidalia will receive a grant for $1,009,458 to fund construction to rehabilitate 3,701 feet of runway to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement. The project will also include reconstruction of 1,300 feet of existing taxiway pavement that has reached the end of its useful life.
The Monroe Regional Airport will receive $916,735 to design 1,300 feet of runway extension, which could allow the airport to facilitate landings and take-offs of larger, more advanced aircraft.