GRAND FORKS — A $9.39 million grant will help fund a list of projects and upgrades at Grand Forks International Airport, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The grant was announced Monday afternoon in releases from the office of U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven. According to the release, the intent of the grant is to construct a 20,000-square-foot hangar for aircraft storage, for maintenance, and to modify the existing terminal building by adding a replacement Customs and Border Protection facility to better accommodate passenger loads.
The funds come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) of 2020.
In addition to work on the terminal and the hangar, the Department of Transportation grant — its full value is $9,391,274 — will fund construction of a single-pump self-service fuel facility "to assist the airport to be as self-sustaining as possible by generating revenue," according to the DOT's "notice of grant award" document.
It also continues a long list of improvements at the airport, the most notable — at least at the moment — of which is a reconstruction of the intersection of the two main runways and the lengthening of a secondary runway. That project is getting underway later this month and will result in a temporary hiatus in service at Grand Forks International, starting Aug. 22 and lasting through Sept. 2.
In a recent interview with the Herald, Ryan Riesinger, executive director of the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority, said the construction — and temporary disruption — is necessary to avoid more intrusive disruptions in the future.
"Ultimately, as we advance through the construction — which is seven years of overall work — we will have a more efficient airport with greater capacity in the future," Riesinger said.
He called it an "exciting time for the airport."
Hoeven said: "The Grand Forks International Airport continues to play a significant role in the future of aviation and pilot training. This grant from DOT will help support construction of the initial phase of the airports’ ongoing expansion project, and ensure the airport is capable of continuing to provide safe and reliable service to the region.”