Airport Commission Awards Contract Pending FAA Funding

By George Ford, Reporter

The Eastern Iowa Airport on Wednesday, January 23, 2013. (Stephen Mally/Freelance)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - An Iowa City company has been awarded a contract to construct a new taxiway at The Eastern Iowa Airport, but the award is contingent on approval of federal grant funding for the project.

The Cedar Rapids Airport Commission on Tuesday approved Streb Construction's low bid of $4.95 million to build Taxiway E, which will be parallel with the crosswind runway at the airport. The company's bid was less than the engineer's estimate of $5,247,712 for the cost of the taxiway.

Donald Swanson, director of finance and administration, said the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to notify the airport administration by Sept. 10 whether it will provide funding for its portion of the project. The FAA also must concur with the commission in the awarding of the contract to Streb Construction.

"We may see some grading and utility work this fall, but there won't be any concrete poured until next year," Swanson said.

If the FAA does not approve federal grant funding, one of the options for the commission is to withdraw the project so it does not compete for funding with a major renovation of the airport's passenger terminal. The latter is expected to shift into high gear next year and will be very visible to travelers and airport visitors.

Swanson said construction of Taxiway E will provide easier access to aircraft. The airport commission received four bids for the project, with the lowest bid just above $4 million and the other three above $5 million.

Taxiway D, currently used by aircraft entering or leaving the runway, would likely transition to general aviation use.

The FAA funding will provide 90 percent of the cost of Taxiway E, with the airport paying the remaining 10 percent. The grant would come from the federal Airport Improvement Program, which was tapped by the FAA earlier this year to keep air traffic controllers working in the wake of sequester-related mandatory budget cuts.

AIP funds typically are initially apportioned according to major entitlement categories such as primary, cargo, and general aviation. Remaining funds are distributed on a discretionary basis.

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