KINGSTON—Tennessee officials have appropriated $15 million that could be used for the proposed airport at Heritage Center, the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge.
The appropriation, which is pending approval of the Oak Ridge Airport by the Federal Aviation Administration, would be enough to cover about 33 percent to 38 percent of the current estimated project cost of $40 million to $45 million.
The appropriation was announced by Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John C. Schroer in a November 8 letter to members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Oak Ridge Today received a copy of the letter on Monday.
The $15 million that could be used for the Oak Ridge Airport is one half of a $30 million appropriation approved by the Tennessee General Assembly for the Aeronautics Economic Development Fund earlier this year, said Billy Stair, a former communications director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who is now a consultant helping with the airport project. That half was to support the construction of new general aviation airports like the project in Oak Ridge, and Oak Ridge received all of the $15 million for general aviation airports, Stair said.
“MKAA (Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority) is the only public entity in the state with planning documents for a new airport currently under review,” Schroer said in his November letter to legislators. The $15 million will be allocated to the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, which would own and operate the Oak Ridge Airport, pending FAA approval. [Read more…]