National Guard to Participate in and Pay for Part of Lincoln Airport Runway Project | Local business news

The National Guard Bureau has pledged to pay a portion of the cost of a future runway reconstruction project at Lincoln Airport to ensure the runway is not shortened.

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, announced on Monday a commitment from the Bureau, which is a joint Army and Air Force office responsible for the administration of the National Guard, to use available funds to cover part of the cost. A specific amount was not disclosed.

The airport plans to completely rebuild its main runway over the next few years in a project estimated to cost between $30 million and $80 million.

The Federal Aviation Administration would pay 90% of the project, with the airport covering the rest, but there is a caveat.

The FAA will only pay for such duration as it determines necessary for commercial airline flights at the airport.

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Because the airport was a former Air Force base, it has one of the longest runways of any commercial airport in the country – nearly 13,000 square feet.

Last month, airport officials estimated the FAA would only pay for a runway of about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet.

However, the airport is home to the Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling Wing, with its fleet of eight Boeing KC-135R Stratotankers, which are very large aircraft that require a longer runway than normal.

Fischer said in a press release that once she discovered additional funding would be needed to maintain the airport runway for its full length, she worked with the Nebraska National Guard, senior management. of U.S. Strategic Command and the Department of Defense, 55th Wing in Offutt. Air Force Base and Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Michael Loh – to help find a solution.

“Preserving the one-size-fits-all runway is critical to the operations of the 155th Air Refueling Wing and its mission partners, which are vital to our national security,” Fischer said.

“I am pleased that the National Guard Bureau has committed to providing the necessary funding to complete this reconstruction project. It remains a long-term priority for the state, and I will continue to advocate for its completion,” she said.

Lincoln Airport officials could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

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Contact the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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