Lift for economy: Businesses gain from airport project

When Elko’s Regional Airport reopens after a six-week runway improvement project, some northern Nevada firms will have realized a good bit of business from the job, including some Elko merchants.

The $9.6 million dollar runway improvement project is largely funded by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is supporting 93.75 percent of the project costs. The FAA is paying for almost $9 million of the project and the City of Elko is paying the remaining project costs.

This year’s construction is the last phase of a multi-year runway improvement program which included replacement of the runway surface, addition of paved shoulders, and installation of a new runway LED signage and lighting system. In addition to the improvements of the airport’s systems, the FAA is also upgrading the approach lighting with a new Precision Approach Path Indicator on both ends of the main runway.

Road and Highway Builders, LLC, a paving company out of Reno, was chosen as the contractor. They are supported by local firms such as Newfields, AMEC, Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Organization, Technical Operations Engineer and a host of material suppliers.

Jviation, of Salt Lake City, performed the design work provided on site construction administration services. There were 40 direct full-time people employed on site which are supported by as many people off site. While the project’s main purpose is to rehabilitate the runway, the community is seeing a large economic benefit by employing many local residents directly tied to the project.

Using the 2007 IMPLAN Economic Impact Model, this project stimulated $6.4 million dollars in indirect economic impact to northern Nevada as the federal dollars funding the project originated from outside Nevada.

The combined stay of all contractors and engineers on site created 1,174 Elko hotel night stays bringing in $98,616 dollars in gross revenue for hotel rooms occupied over the two month project.

The IMPLAN model estimates that 82 percent of the local matching funds the City of Elko committed towards the Runway 5/23 project will be in the form of sales tax receipts.

Crews were working six days a week but added a seventh day of work to stay on schedule. The project is providing a new runway that will last for many years into the future, in addition to bringing good paying construction jobs to the community.

Mark Gibbs is the Elko Regional Airport executive director.


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