The Porter County Council has agreed to contribute $317,197 to a pot of state and local funds that will unlock more than $10 million in federal funds for the reconstruction of the main runway at the Porter County Regional Airport.
While a large sum, the true value of the money is its linchpin role in securing the balance of the funding for the massive $11.3 million project.
The Federal Aviation Administration is contributing 90 percent of the money, the state is picking up 5 percent and the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority agreed to provide half of the remaining 5 percent as long as the county comes up with the other half, Porter County Municipal Airport Authority President Paul Chael told the council.
The RDA approved its portion of the match last August. "Just like the airport in Gary, the Porter County airport is a significant driver of regional economic activity," RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna said at the time. "A 2012 estimate put its economic impact at more than $17 million annually. This grant is a small but vital piece to access federal funding for urgently needed repairs and upgrades."
The overall project includes rehabilitation and reconstruction on runway 9-27, which is in danger of falling below minimum service levels, as well as completion of a High Intensity Runway Lighting Rehabilitation project which would replace lighting components that are beyond their service lifetime. According to the airport, work on runway 9-27 is set to begin this spring and will take about 70 days to complete.