By AMY JOYNER, Staff Writer
News & Record
Updated 3:34 p.m.; Posted 12:26 p.m.
The Federal Aviation Administration will pay an estimated $108 million to build a third runway at Piedmont Triad International Airport, U.S. Rep. Howard Coble's office announced Friday.
That's important news for FedEx, which plans to open a $300 million cargo hub at the airport by 2005. The company said it needs a third runway parallel to PTI's existing main airstrip for its overnight sorting center.
The FAA soon will issue a "letter of intent" that outlines its 12-year plan for funding the third runway and related expenses. Coble, a Greensboro Republican, said the FAA will spend more than $58 million in "entitlement and cargo" funds and $50 million in "discretionary" funds from fiscal 2002 through 2013.
The FAA will shoulder most, but not all, of the cost. The Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, along with the N.C. Department of Transportation, will pay about $11 million for the runway project.
FAA spokesman Christopher White said the letter of intent hasn't been issued yet, but it should be sent to PTI early next week. He didn't know what the letter will say, but said the FAA will commit to paying the lion's share of the runway and taxiway construction costs.
Airport and FedEx officials and other hub supporters called Friday's announcement good news.
"We're obviously very excited about getting this letter because this ties down the funding for the project," airport executive director Ted Johnson said. "We now have all the funding in place to complete the project."
The next step in the process, Johnson said, is to design the new runway. An engineering contract could be awarded this summer, he said. The design work could take a year, Johnson said, meaning that construction of the runway might not begin until late 2003 or early 2004.
Staff Writer Paul Muschick contributed to this story.
Contact Amy Joyner at 373-7075 or firstname.lastname@example.org.