Rapid City Regional Airport to get nearly $1.5 million for improvements
Rapid City Regional Airport will receive $1.48 million in Federal Aviation Administration funds to purchase a new fire truck and expand the apron at the airport.
The money, which comes from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, is part of the airport’s annual entitlement of federal funding for capital improvement projects, airport director Cameron Humphres said. Airports are given the funding based on a formula that takes into account the annual number of passengers and take offs and landings.
“That’s been one of the primary ways for us to pay for capital improvements,” Humphres said.
The new aircraft rescue and fire fighting truck, which will cost about $750,000, will be a 1,500-gallon fast-response vehicle tailored for responding to aircraft accidents, Humphres said. It will replace a truck that is more than 20 years old.
Fire Chief Mike Maltaverne, who spent a number of years at the airport fire station before becoming chief, said unlike standard fire engines, airport trucks are operated by one firefighter and carry large amounts of water and special firefighting foams that can be deployed without ever leaving the vehicle.
“They’re really built for an off-road terrain, because typically when planes crash, they hit the runway and end up in a grassy area,” Maltaverne said.
Humphres said the airport will likely seek bids on the new truck by the end of the month, with the hopes of getting the new equipment in operation by the first of the year.
“If it works out, we’ll have a new station and not too long after have a new fire truck and be set for fire coverage for a long time into the future,” Humphres said. “It will be a really strong state of readiness to fight any accidents, should they occur out here.”
The second project will expand the parking area for non-commercial planes, Humphres said. Currently, the apron becomes fairly congested with private and corporate planes, and its expansion will help alleviate that congestion.
The federal funds will cover the cost of tearing down the old federal building, which has long been vacant, and paving the area for airplane parking, Humphres said.
Contact Emilie Rusch at 394-8453 or emilie.rusch.
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