By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer
The Portales Municipal Airport will be getting a new fuel farm access road as part of the airport expansion.
City councilors recently accepted a $301,651 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The grant will fund reconstruction and paving of the fuel farm access road, paving of the parking lot and the environmental assessment for the proposed extension and widening of runways 1 and 19.
“We use the fuel farm access road every day,” Mike Parkey, Portales Municipal Airport director, said. “Right now it’s just made out of caliche and needs constant maintenance.”
Fuel trucks at the airport use the access road, and semi tractor that come in from West Texas to deliver fuel use the road also.
Debi Lee, Portales city manager, said the city wants to have the construction work completed on the fuel farm access road and parking lot by the end of this year. Lee said city officials want to award a bid in 60 days.
“The airport offers an asset to merchants,” Lee said. “It will draw people in to do their business in Portales.”
The New Mexico Aviation Division and the city will each contribute $12,662 in matching funds to the project.
During an August meeting, Tom Baca, director of aviation for the State of New Mexico Department of Transportation, told Portales city officials they need to plan on expansion of the airport.
Baca said an environmental assessment of the runways and a future outlook of the airport will help obtain federal funds from the FAA. Baca valued the airport at $30 million.
With the environmental assessment, Portales airport staff can request funding for expansion and widening of the runways. This would allow for larger planes to use the airport.