Local airport receives TxDOT grant for facility improvements

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News Reporter

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The San Marcos Municipal Airport will recieve $5.7 million from the Texas Department of Transportation for lighting, runway and other improvements.

The San Marcos Municipal Airport will soon be revamped with the installation of new runway pavement, lighting and other improvements as a result of a $5.7 million grant approved by state transportation officials.

The city will help finance the project along with funding from a statewide Aviation Facilities Grant Program within the Texas Department of Transportation, officials said. Runways 13 and 31 will be the primary focus of improvements to the airport, said Stephen Alexander, founder and manager of Texas Aviation Partners, the company that runs it.

“The grant was applied for by the airport a couple of years ago,” Alexander said. “It will be used for refurbishing and fixing runways, upgrading airfield lighting systems and also widening and improving the airport entrance.”

The San Marcos facility is one of the state’s busiest public use airports. It is the only Federal Aviation Administration-designated facility that supports two international airports—Austin Bergstrom and San Antonio. It is in a key location in central Texas and receives an average of 200 flights per day, Alexander said.

Greg Miller, director of Aviation Planning and Programming at TxDOT, said the grant funding is distributed to airports throughout the state on an “as needed” basis.

“This isn’t just for San Marcos,” Miller said. “We plan on fixing and rehabilitating all of the airports around the state over the next few years.”

Texas Aviations Partners has seen a 50 percent increase in traffic since the company began managing the airport in 2010, Alexander said.

“We’re a private company that runs the airport on behalf of the city, and our goal is to increase the revenues that are generated by the airport to go back into the community to where the airport becomes self-sufficient,” Alexander said.

The new airport improvements will better serve the community, said Steve White, commercial and private pilot.

“It’s necessary to improve these airports as needed,” White said. “If we keep them in pristine condition, then the community will improve over time.”

White, who has been a pilot for more than 30 years, said he uses the San Marcos airport on a weekly basis to visit his brother’s family. He has traveled through San Marcos for the past 10 years and is looking forward to the airport’s improvements.

“I like seeing the infrastructure changes that have been occurring,” White said. “It makes the airport look more professional and brings in more business.”

The improvements for the airport are currently in the design phase, and construction is slated to begin within the next few months, Miller said.