The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT)’s Aeronautics Board approved over $3.6 million in funding requests from 35 public-use airports during their Helena meeting on Jan. 16. The requests were for a variety of improvement projects that focused on lighting enhancements, runway, taxiway and apron reconstruction projects, land easements, perimeter fencing, building construction, and snow removal equipment.
The Cut Bank International Airport was awarded $44,542 in grant funds for pavement rehabilitation.
Funding for this program is provided by a $0.045 / gallon tax on fuel sold to commercial and general aviation aircraft in Montana, which was increased during the 2019 Legislative session with the passing of HB661. Most of the money awarded in grants and loans each year goes to leverage 90/10 Federal (FAA) match dollars for large airport construction projects. Over $4.8 million in local match money was requested.
Any public airport is eligible to apply for assistance through the loan and grant program. Funds can be used for a wide variety of airport and aviation related projects. Applications for the funding are due for submission to MDT’s Aeronautics Division on Nov. 15 each year, and the money is typically awarded in January of the following year.
Although the money is awarded in January, the funds are not available until the beginning of the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1.
During their meeting, the Montana Aeronautics Board reviews the applications and takes public comment before making their final award determinations for the upcoming fiscal year.