CHOTEAU — On February 19th, the US Department of Transportation awarded more than $26 million dollars in airport infrastructure and safety grants to 17 airports in Montana, as part of a $520 million dollar program for American airports.
One of the airports receiving grants is located in Chouteau.
While the grant from the US Department of Transportation covered 10 percent of Choteau Airport’s project costs, the remaining 90 percent was covered by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Chouteau Airport’s aviation consultant Jim Greil explained why the airport applied for a grant from the FAA to fund their snow removal needs.
The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that airports within its administrative jurisdiction abide by a certain set of regulations.
One of the criteria for the Choteau Airport is that it must stay in operation during snow events.
“The FAA mandates that they have certain criteria they have to meet to keep the airport open to remove snow during the winter and within a certain amount of time,” Greil said.
However, in order to operate during heavy snowfall, the airport requires better functioning snow equipment which costs a substantial amount of money.
“The airport is severely lacking the equipment necessary to do that. The FAA recognized that and so the airport planned with the FAA to acquire snow removal equipment,” Greil said.
Greil said that the process of purchasing equipment should begin within the next month or so.
FEBRUARY 19: $26M in grants awarded to 17 Montana airports