Your Airport’s CIP

by Cassandra Isackson
Director, Minnesota DOT Office of Aeronautics

Do you know what your airport’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is? What it does for your airport, your community, and you?

Although our construction season is well underway, planning for those projects began years ago as a CIP line item. A CIP is used to plan and program the projects that will preserve and develop Minnesota’s system of publicly-owned airports.

Minnesota’s system includes 135 publicly-funded airports around the state, 97 of which are eligible for federal funding. Each airport’s CIP should summarize the needs of the airport for the next 20 years. Projects that may be listed include paving, crack seals, lighting, obstruction removal, building construction, equipment purchases, navigational aids, and more. It is, without a doubt, the most important tool available for planning and obtaining funding for airport projects.

Each year, MnDOT Aeronautics requests updated CIP information from airports. Projects in the near-term (3-5 years out) require detailed cost estimates and environmental clearance. MnDOT Aeronautics and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) use the accumulated CIP data to guide allocation of limited federal and state aviation dollars. Projects are prioritized statewide to utilize available funding.

An airport’s CIP is the very first step toward accessing these dedicated funds. A well-prepared CIP can also help an airport avoid possible project delays by setting realistic expectations and reasonable time-lines.

Projects listed in the mid-term (5-10 years out) and long-term (10-20 years out) identify the cost of system preservation into the future. Planning for the future of an airport allows it to meet the current and growing needs of the aviation community. A CIP update is the first step for an airport manager, city or county to improve safety and security for today’s users. It also helps to assure that an airport remains a viable and valuable asset, to and for its community.

The last several years, MnDOT Aeronautics has hosted CIP meetings at six or seven airport locations around the state, and invited airport staff to attend the meeting most convenient for them. This year we are changing that model and coming to individual airports when they want to review their CIP.  I would like to be there to help answer any questions that may arise, so please invite me to an airport board meeting when the CIP is a topic for decision-making. Perhaps today is a perfect time for you to get involved with the airport board or management team by supporting and assisting their quality efforts to review and update your airport’s CIP (http://www.dot.state.mn.us/aero/airportdevelopment/cip.html).

This entry was posted in Airports, Columns, Columns, June/July 2015, MN Aeronautics Bulletin and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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