Gov. Pat Quinn announced Feb. 13 a $133,000 capital investment for a construction project at the Metropolis Municipal Airport.
The project is part of Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
The contract was awarded following a competitive bidding process and addresses a critical infrastructure need while creating construction jobs.
Metropolis Airport Manager Jerry Caudle said 5 percent of the money is from local sources, 5 percent is from the state and 90 percent of the money comes from federal dollars.
Caudle also points out the money is derived from the taxes on airline tickets.
According to Caudle, the money will be used to make upgrades to the parking lot area as well as the apron in front of the hanger where the airport office is located. Caudle said there is an advisory board that oversees the Metropolis Airport but meets only when there is a reason to meet.
“Investments in airports like this one in Metropolis make them safer and more efficient,” Quinn said. “The project will also employ a number of construction workers, which will drive the local economy forward.”
The project will involve the first phase of the construction of a partial parallel taxiway, plus associated grading and drainage work. The work will be done by Sierra Bravo Contractors, LLC of Sesser, the lowest of four bidders with a quote of $133,925.
The Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics will manage the project, which includes federal, state and local funding.
“These infrastructure upgrades will help our local economy by providing much-needed jobs for construction workers and further improve the vital services Metropolis Municipal Airport has to offer,” State Rep. Brandon Phelps said. “Many do not realize the regional impact this airport provides to us through seasonal agricultural spraying and serving as one of the training grounds for future aviators through SIU’s School of Aviation.”
Caudle said neither he nor the airport board will actually handle any of the money, pointing out the state is in charge of handling the money and bidding and construction process. He said it is possible the work will begin this year. However, he estimated it is more likely the work would actually happen next year.
According to Caudle, the airport is a public airport and is open for local businesses to use if there are business associates flying in from out-of-town. Likewise, pilots flying into town may use the airport, as well as recreational pilots who are flying for fun. Caudle said the airport is big enough to accommodate small jets.
The state funds for the project come from Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which supports more than 439,000 jobs over six years.
It is the largest capital construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest capital construction programs in the nation.