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The Manhattan Regional Airport.

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Manhattan Regional Airport will receive nearly $6 million from the federal government to reconstruct its runway.

The Department of Defense awarded the airport with $5.925 million earlier this week for its runway project. Defense officials said the money, which comes from the Defense Community Infrastructure Program, will support military use of the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved funding 90% of the cost for a 100-foot-wide runway, so the city government has been seeking additional money to cover costs for a 150-foot-wide runway, which better accommodates larger aircraft takeoffs for K-State and Fort Riley.

In August, Olsson & Associates engineering firm told Manhattan city commissioners that the FAA planned to provide in about $39.9 million of the estimated $51.1 million construction cost, leaving about $11.2 million for the city government to pick up.

Airport director Jesse Romo told The Mercury on Friday the FAA grant wouldn’t come until next year, so officials will keep pushing for additional funding from the agency.

“The DoD funding helps us pay for the additional 50 feet, but we’re still going to the FAA to give us a 90% grant for 150 feet,” he said.

In written statements, U.S. Sens. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, supported the investment into the airport.

“The current runway has met the end of its usable lifespan and is a necessary asset not only to connect Manhattan and the surrounding communities with affordable air service, but also in supporting the mission readiness, deployment, and operations of nearby Fort Riley,” Marshall said. “I applaud the Department of Defense in their support of this important and timely project.”

In 2018, Moran sponsored an amendment that created the Defense Community Infrastructure Program.

“I created the Defense Community Infrastructure Program to allow the Department of Defense to support servicemembers and their families by investing in its military communities,” he said. “This continued investment in Manhattan Regional’s runway supports the community of Fort Riley’s travel capabilities and assists missions and operations.”

Based on a recent timeline, the city government plans to advertise construction bids in March with preliminary work to remove trees and grade surfaces near the runway starting next fall. Officials plan for runway construction to last from April 2023 to September 2023.

This article originally ran on themercury.com.

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