Kansas airports prep for disaster relief with airport improvement program

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– State officials are prepping Kansas airports for disaster relief efforts. The Kansas Department of Transportation announced 32 Airport improvement projects on Tuesday.

The projects will help airports with maintenance and keep them operating. Transportation officials said that is critical in having a prompt response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Delivering supplies, vaccines, moving patients… Air ambulance is currently fielded across 94% of the entire state,” Bob Brock, the state’s Director of Aviation, explained. “So, if a patient that is suffering from COVID needs to be moved quickly, a small airport provides that capability.”

The state is investing $5 million into airport improvement projects across Kansas, through the Kansas Airport Improvement Program (KAIP). The money will be used for planning, constructing or rehabilitating public-use general aviation airports. Government officials said it could have a large economic impact.

“Aviation currently represents $20.6 billion in total economic impact for the State of Kansas,” said Gov. Laura Kelly. “Working together, the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and local communities are enhancing the safety of our transportation infrastructure and expanding this economic impact.”

The selection board prioritized airport improvements that deliver the most significant impact across the entire state.  Most of these projects contribute to flight safety and/or positive economic impact for their region.  

“Aviation is a particularly important mode of transportation for Kansas industry and the delivery of healthcare services and disaster relief,” said Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz. “These airport improvements are a few of many important efforts to empower aviation economic growth across our entire state.”

Officials say the effective operation of airports in the state will also help in responding to natural disasters, like tornadoes and large storms.

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