$7.8 Million in Airport Grants for Reno, Elko, Jackpot

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The U.S. Transportation Department awarded airport grants totaling more than $7.8 million in Nevada Wednesday, including money to address noise concerns in Reno and repair part of a runway apron in Elko.

The money includes $5 million for noise mitigation measures for homes near Reno-Tahoe International Airport and $2 million to acquire land in the area for purposes of "noise compatibility," the DOT's Federal Aviation Administration said.

"Reducing noise levels around the Reno-Tahoe Airport is an important quality of life issue for people residing in nearby neighborhoods," Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., said Reno's snowcapped mountains and
warm summer climate make it a top tourism destination.

"Unfortunately, this amount of air traffic increases the noise levels around the airport and under the flight paths," he said.

Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said the airport is "essential to the economic health and growth of northern Nevada.

"Ensuring that the airport has the necessary funds to improve their facility and enhance security is critical to the safety of Washoe County residents and the thousands of visitors that come to northern Nevada every year," he said.

Elko Regional Airport will receive $741,606 to improve the runway safety area and to rehabilitate the apron.

Elko City Manager Curtis Calder said the city had applied for more than $1 million in federal assistance but that the FAA grants were being reduced nationwide.

"They told us if we get anything it would be cut back," Calder told the Elko Daily Free Press. He said the money will allow the city to "piecemeal" repairs in the worst areas.

The FAA also awarded the Jackpot/Hayden Field Airport $99,000 for safety enhancements and the installation of a perimeter fence.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)