St. John Airport in Reserve to get federal grant boost

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Airport in Reserve will be awarded a $344,850 grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation to remove obstructions and to construct a taxiway, U.S. Senator David Vitter announced recently.

“I am pleased the U.S. Department of Transportation made this federal money available to the St. John the Baptist Parish Airport. This grant will help improve travel into Reserve and will bring potential economic benefits to St. John the Baptist Parish,” said Vitter.

The senator announced the grant would provide funding to construct taxi lanes and an apron area in support of a phased hangar development.

“The new pavement will provide the airport with additional capacity. In addition, the project will remove trees from the air traffic and will mitigate wetlands affected by the tree removal,” said Vitter. “The project will greatly enhance safety for approaching aircraft.”

Paul Oncale, Director of Public Safety and Civil Defense, said this is only 95 percent of the funding needed to perform the two projects spoken of by Vitter.

Oncale said the money being appropriated is coming from the FAA Federal Administration.

The FAA is a component of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Oncale said an additional 5 percent in funding will be paid by the Louisiana Department of Transportation Aviation Division.

According to Oncale, the

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federal and state grants will total $385,000.

The money will be used to finance engineering, material and construction costs for two airport projects.

The parish is not financially obligated to pay anything.

Oncale said project number one clears a runway and an approach surface, while project number five creates taxi lanes and an apron for the south t-hangar development.

Professional Engineering Corporation P.E. Vice President Gerald W. Babin said he will immediately begin engineering design for the developed airport program.

“Once our projects are designed, they will be reviewed by Oncale and by the FAA,” said Babin. “When the designs are approved, P.E.C. will place the projects for public bid.”

According to Babin, bids will be reviewed by the St. John the Baptist Parish Council and the council will award contracts to contractors.

“We hope to break ground in July,” said Babin.