WASHINGTON, D.C. – North Dakota’s aeronautics director, Larry Taborsky, state airport planner, Kyle Wanner, and Henry Ogrodzinski, president of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), met with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, June 19, 2013, to try and secure funding for North Dakota airport improvement projects. Due to the state’s recent oil boom, North Dakota is now the number two oil producing state in the nation, which has recently caused an exponential growth in both commercial and business aviation resulting in enormous pressure on the state’s airport infrastructure. Minot International Airport alone has seen a 236 percent increase in passenger enplanements since 2009 and the passenger terminal is currently operating at three times its design capacity. Indications are that current oil exploration and drilling will also be responsible for longer-term population growth with the construction of pipelines, terminals, refineries and fertilizer plants. As a result, the airports and their terminals must be expanded.
The Administrator turned down North Dakota’s request for federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds, sighting the FAA’s shortfall in 2013 AIP funds to pay $253 million to maintain contract control towers and eliminate employee furloughs, as a result of the sequestration law passed by congress.
North Dakota’s only hope in getting federal dollars is if other states returned unused entitlement funds. NASAO encourages all airport sponsors (i.e. municipalities) to make their carry-over decisions and notify their FAA Airport District Office as early as possible.