A plane takes off from the Elizabethton airport. (John Thompson/Johnson City Press)
ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton Municipal Airport has received a $1,670,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Division. It will require a local match of 5 percent, or $87,930.
The state agency said the grant will be used for land acquisition in the runway protection zone of the airport. Elizabethton was one of 18 airports across the state to receive a portion of $14.2 million in grants for infrastructure and other improvements. The grant to Elizabethton was the largest state grant of those announced Tuesday, although several airports received more than one grant.
Airport Manager Dan Cogan said the grant for runway protection was justified because Elizabethton was one of the few airports in the state that continues to show growth.
"Our fuel sales of all types was up 42 percent over last year," Cogan said of the growth of business at the airport. That includes jet fuel, gasoline and oil. "We are continuing to show growth in an economy that is not friendly to aviation."
Cogan said the airport is not only seeing an increase in traffic, it is also attracting the interest of several aviation businesses who are considering the airport as a place to locate. He said that could mean more jobs for the area.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Sen. Rusty Crowe issued a joint release in which the two senators who represent Carter County praised the state award.
"It is important as we work to bring new jobs to Tennessee that our transportation infrastructure remains top notch," Ransey said. "This grant insures that Elizabethton will stay ahead of the curve on transportation and economic development."
Crowe said "our airports are important not only to our citizens who use them but to the economic future of Tennessee. This grant will allow Elizabethton to continue to be a top-quality airport for its citizens."