The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority is spending $400,000 for predesign work on the Pangborn Airport runway. 

Plans call for reconstruction of the runway, but there's a snag in getting funding for the project from the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Port CEO Jim Kuntz says the FAA is now resistant to committing to funding most of the $34.5 million project. 

“The FAA is telling us that there’s a whole bunch of airports just like us that need major runway rehabilitation,” said Kuntz. “They’re saying it’s just bad timing,” 

The predesign work approved by Port Authority commissioners Tuesday will determine if an asphalt overlay would sufficiently improve the runway, instead of a complete reconstruction. 

The predesign work will be done by civil engineering services firm Ardurra. 

The firm will conduct a geotechnical investigation to obtain information on the physical properties of soil earthworks and foundation underneath the runway. 

The results will help determine if an asphalt overlay can improve the runway enough to last for 10 years, which the FAA has suggested as an alternative. 

Specialist Dave Mitchell with Ardurra says the FAA is experiencing a shortage of discretionary funding. 

"Basically, everything costs way more this year than people thought it would cost, so they ran out of discretionary," said Mitchell. "And I think they're afraid that's going to happen again this coming year, in the next couple of years. So, I think because of how tight funding is, they are willing to discuss other options." 

The Port Authority may know more at its next meeting later this month if an asphalt overlay is feasible.   

Below is an existing funding plan for the runway rebuild: 

FAA             $31,000,000 

CDRPA         $ 3,444,445 

Total Project $34,444,445 

FAA Funding Tranches: 

2024 - $1,000,000 

2025 - $18,000,000 

2028 - $12,000,000 

The project would correct any deficiencies in the runway, including a dip in a portion of it, and would bring it up to FAA specifications. 

But the FAA suggested the alternative on an asphalt overlay at a recent meeting with Port members, including Kuntz. 

The Chelan Douglas Port Authority owns and operates Pangborn Airport.

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