City Council approves project list for Paso Robles Municipal Airport

Paso Robles Municipal Airport has received the go-ahead to prioritize a number of runway extensions and other projects in hopes of qualifying for state and federal grant money.

The wish list approved by the City Council is laid out in a timeline through 2016.

The next project slated for funding this year is rehabilitating the main runway after eight years of it not being maintained.

The project would consist of surface crack repairs and placing a seal coat on the 6,000-foot-long runway. It also calls for re-painting all runway markings and striping, according to project documents.

The Federal Aviation Administration favors airport improvements that directly benefit and support aviation, such as taxiway and runway expansions, City Manager Jim App said. Other projects, such as extending access roads, are designed to improve safety for those who use the airport.

The council’s approval last week was needed for airport officials to identify and prioritize the proposed fixes and other projects. Now staff can apply for grants as they become available.

However, readying the projects for aid doesn’t mean they’ve been approved for construction.

Projects scheduled for after this year still need federal and state environmental studies before design and construction can begin. That work could be done after grants become available, according to the city.

Price tags on each project would be determined during the grant application process, according to city documents. The amounts would then need approval by the council.The airport serves as a base for CHP helicopters and firefighting tankers and is a frequent stop for military aircraft. It is also used for private planes.

The Paso Robles Jet Center, which provides fuel and other services to planes at the facility, hopes to attract more people to the airport by bringing in new tenants this year, such as a flight school or a small charter operator.