"Top FAA official visits Bay City Airport" by: Jessica Shepard

Sentinel photo/Jessica Shepard
Federal Aviation Administration Associate Administrator for Airports Kirk Shaffer, far left, joined Matagorda County Economic Development Director Mike Ferdinand, Bay City Mayor Robert Nelson and Bay City Community Development Corporation Executive Director Jessica Russell for an Airport Improvement Program grant proposal presentation from Bay City Regional Airport Manager James Mason and Civil PEs President Thomas Dodson June 21.

   The Bay City Regional Airport is moving forward with a Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program grant application process for $6.84 million to get several safety issues addressed.
   That process included an informal visit with FAA Associate Administrator for Airports and Bay City native Kirk Shaffer Friday, June 21.
   The AIP airport grant program funds airport infrastructure projects such as runways, taxiways, airport signage, airport lighting, and airport markings.
   AIP Funds have been regularly utilized by the airport, even under the block grant program.
   “The first part of this project includes a drainage study,” said Bay City Regional Airport Manager James Mason.
   “With aerial photos from Google Earth, we can see the remnants of an old rice canal going under the taxiway. We’ve taken a closer look out there ourselves and noticed that it’s being worn away and poses a threat to our taxiway. If we lose the taxiway, we’re out of business for the foreseeable future until it’s fixed.”
   Mason added that there are some low-lying areas prone to flooding that also cause hazards for airplane use.
   “This project also replaces the parallel taxiway for this airport’s only runway,” he added.
   “The taxiway is at the end of its useful life with substantial cracking, pumping, and loss-of-profile of the pavement surface. All the pavement on the taxiway requires reconstruction.
   “The project improves drainage, relocates the taxiway to standard offset, and corrects the connector taxiways’ geometries,” said Mason.

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