Mitchell International to get $600,000 in federal funds for runway repair

Wisconsin receives $15.5 million for airport improvements

Mitchell International Airport. - Curtis Waltz (www.aerialscapes.com) photo.
Mitchell International Airport. - Curtis Waltz (www.aerialscapes.com) photo.

Last updated on February 21st, 2020 at 09:06 am

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee will receive $600,000 in federal funds to repair its primary runway after the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Wisconsin a $15.5 million grant to make infrastructure improvements at airports across the state.

The funds are part of an approximately $520.5 million federal grant for infrastructure improvements at 287 airports in 41 states, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced in a press conference today at the Milwaukee airport.

“This $520.5 million in federal support to airports across the country will help to keep our nation’s airports in good shape and make air travel a better experience for passengers,” Chao said.

The $15.5 million grant dedicated to Wisconsin will be used to fund development projects, new equipment and infrastructure projects at small and rural airports across the state. Such improvements would include weather observation stations, terminal buildings, fencing and lighting.

However, it’s not clear when the project at Mitchell International will take place.

“The process of this, it will get released and make its way to us,” said airport director Brian Dranzik. “This is just kind of the announcement of what the award is. Those funds I believe are for 2020.”

Dranzik said additional funds could come from the state or Milwaukee County to match the federal grant, although he was unsure of how much either entity would contribute.

When asked about the state of Mitchell International runways, Dranzik said the rehabilitation project is standard.

“As the secretary mentioned, it’s just aging and it’s due for some rehabilitation,” he said. “It’s pretty standard for the type of activity that we do. We do a pavement analysis on the runways every couple of years and we get an index rating of what the condition is. It’s various sections of the airfield itself.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary also touted the most recent $15.9 million federal grant awarded to the Port of Milwaukee for a maritime export facility, adding that her department has given Wisconsin $3.95 billion since the Trump administration took office in 2017.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport director Brian Dranzik introduces U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. From Left: Colonel Shawn Gaffney, vice commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard, Elaine Chao, Brian Dranzik.
Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport director Brian Dranzik introduces U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. From Left: Colonel Shawn Gaffney, vice commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard, Elaine Chao, Brian Dranzik.

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