PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Aeronautics Commission agrees that the Presho municipal airport should be on the state aviation plan.
The panel voted unanimously Thursday to make the addition.
Mayor Angela Ehlers told the commission that several crop sprayers have stopped using the site, which has a gravel runway. “We would like to pave the airport,” she said.
A feasibility study would be the first step in a process that could take another six years or longer.
Ehlers, a long-time EMT, noted that Presho is along Interstate 90 but emergency helicopters currently can’t land there in case of a vehicle crash.
In other action Thursday, the commission agreed to be the go-between if more federal grants are awarded to modernize the terminal at Rapid City Regional Airport.
Rapid City Regional is applying for two grants from the Federal Aviation Administration totaling more than $17.7 million.
The local contribution meanwhile would be more than $1.2 million.
“So at this time, no state funds are requested,” said Toni Broom, the airport’s deputy director of finance and administration.
However, Broom noted, the current plan for this piece of the multi-phase project eventually calls for more than $11.5 million from local sources.
A $21.8 million round of federal funding was approved earlier this year.
The total package is pegged at $150 million.
She said construction is expected to start in November.
Rapid City does plan to request $200,000 from the state commission and $210,000 from the state aircraft-fuel tax fund, Broom said.
A Rapid City legislator, Republican Senator David Johnson, asked the Legislature for $15 million for the project earlier this year, but the Joint Committee on Appropriations rejected his bill.
Managers for the Rapid City and Sioux Falls airports asked the commission in June to consider lifting the $200,000 cap.