Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Williston New Airport -- Things Keep Moving Along -- June 6, 2017

Williston Herald: FAA, city OK new use for grant money. Agency will direct almost $20 million of remaining land grant money to other areas of new airport. This probably would have happened regardless of who was president, but my cynical nature wonders if it might have been held up had Hillary been president. There's a new sheriff in town, a new philosophy in Washington, and I think that it trickles down. I may be wrong.

From the linked article:
The FAA’s initial land grant totaled $27 million, which was intended to be a ceiling on the amount the federal agency would make toward siting costs. These included not just land acquisition but site consultation and design engineering fees.

Williston ended up not needing quite as much as expected in the way of consulting and design fees. However, the land itself ended up costing a significant amount more than the market appraisal, which was $5,500 an acre.

“We all knew we had two tasks,” Mayor Howard Klug said. “One was to buy the land and the other was to be fair with the landowners. We always said we were going to be fair to the landowners out there. The price we finally paid reflects those two philosophies that we had.”

That leaves a remaining $18.6 million in the land grant. That money is available this budget year, and the FAA has now agreed it can go toward other areas of the project, including building the airport terminal.

“They don’t typically do that,” Tuan told Commissioners.

However, the timeline for getting this leftover money apportioned to the project is tight.

“Their fiscal year ends in September and they want to get this paperwork done right away,” Tuan said.

In general, however, the FAA will not pay much more than the market appraisal for the land — but in this case they have agreed to pay 61 percent of the acquisition costs, for a total of $8.4 million.
Tuan is earning his pay. Good for him.

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