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Troy secures federal

money for airport project

By BETH LAKEY

Staff Writer

Federal funding for a fencing project initiated by deer on runways at the Troy Municipal Airport has been approved.

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Terry Everett, R-Enterprise, announced the U.S. Department of Transportation "has given the green light to an award of $561,510" for the city to install a fence that will keep wildlife off the runways.

"I am happy to report that a major federal funding request for the improvement of safety at the Troy Municipal Airport has been approved," Everett said.

The project was put at the top of priorities after a Lear jet owned by the Dallas Cowboys football organization hit two deer on a runway, causing severe injuries to the plane’s two occupants and total destruction of the aircraft. That incident occurred on Jan. 14.

Another similar incident was reported the following week, but damage to that aircraft was not as severe and nobody was injured.

Since those January run-ins with deer, city officials have had other reports of deer on the runway, forcing them to take quick action to eliminate that danger.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said safety concerns are the reason for the fencing project.

"We are all aware of the recent incidents involving runway safety due to deer and other wildlife entering the active airport area," Everett said. "The city set out to secure funding to make the runway and taxiways safe from any further wildlife incursion and I am proud to have supported this request."

Plans are to install an 11-foot wildlife fence around the airport to keep deer and other animals off the runways.

The perimeter fencing award was approved Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration.

This is the second FAA award this year for the city of Troy. On Jan. 29, the FAA approved a $120,542 grant for safety improvements and runway rehabilitation at the local airport.