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Troy Airport awarded grant

The runway expansion at the Troy Municipal Airport is one step closer to completion.

In fact, thanks to a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, the first steps of construction are now set to begin.

“It’s the first step on the construction side,” said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford. “It’s to get the land cleared and extend the zone so we can get on ground and do the final plans.”

Lunsford said the city had already received initial word the $433,200 grant would be awarded, but official word came this weekend.

“We’re pretty excited about hearing it officially,” Lunsford said. “It’s been a very long process of getting to the point where we can actually get on the ground, start the clearing and do the final design.”

The expansion of the runway is something the city has worked toward for more than a year, but its something that may continue for the next two years even.

Funding for the project will be 95-percent from federal dollars. The remaining funds will be split between the state of Alabama and the city of Troy.

The total amount of the project is still unknown, since the clearing has to be complete before design work begins.

Lunsford said separate federal grants would be awarded to move dirt and then another to complete paving and lighting.

Lunsford said he hopes to have the remaining funds awarded in the next budget year, which could leave the project completed in 2010.

But, without knowing the exact amount, the completion may have to wait until 2011.

“We have to get the dollar figure for the final construction plans and see if it can all be funded in one fiscal year or if we’ll have to divide it,” Lunsford said. “Our hope is to get this part and the design done so it can be awarded in the next fiscal year for construction.”