FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sara Robertson (Sara.Robertson2@mail.house.gov)
Rep. Crawford Visits Pocahontas Municipal Airport
POCAHONTAS – Last week, Representative Rick Crawford (AR-01) paid a visit to the Pocahontas Municipal Airport to meet with local leaders, members of the Airport Commission, and the Airport Manager.
One of the first topics discussed was Airport Improvement Project (AIP) funding, which has remained stagnant at $150,000 for more than 20 years. The federal grant may cover between 75 and 95 percent of the eligible costs, depending on the type of improvement and the size of the airport. Rampant inflation has put a financial crunch on airports of their size and made funding projects difficult.
Other big issues facing the airport leaders are compliance costs and mis-prioritization. Due to rising inflation, the cost of building went up by almost 40 percent in just two years, with the same contractor. Randy Gilless, Airport Manager, discussed how he tapped into the state of Arkansas’s surplus and reorganization to make his limited funds go further.
Rep. Crawford was then asked for an update on future Interstate-57. The future I-57 project will run from Walnut Ridge to the Missouri State Line, completing a continuous freeway linking Little Rock, St. Louis, and Chicago. The benefits from this project will include increased mobility and safety, enhanced economic competitiveness regionally, and accelerated interstate commerce. The addition of a four-lane highway with full interstate designation will attract business to Northeast Arkansas as well as provide critical economic access for the region.
“The benefit in economic impact for communities like Pocahontas will be tremendous. While we are still years away, it has been, and will continue to be, made a priority on both the state and federal levels,” said Crawford.
The visit concluded with a discussion about recent renovations to the Airport facility: the new hangar, the runway extension project, and runway lighting upgrades. “Investing in airports and runways means investing in local towns. Businesses are looking to expand to places like Pocahontas and Randolph County, and the Pocahontas Municipal Airport is an important asset to highlight as we invite businesses into our community,” said Crawford.