Originally created 06/26/02

Airport grant awarded



Augusta Regional Airport will receive a $759,004 grant from the federal government to help develop air service, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday.

The DOT selected 40 airports out of the 179 that applied for the one-time grant totaling $20 million to help regional airports.

"This is it for this year," DOT spokesman Bill Mosley said about the number of proposals the department approved.

"This is a program in which the government - the DOT working with other government agencies - will work with the community, with the airport, with the Augusta Aviation Commission to make the airport the central focus of economic development in the Central Savannah River Area."

According to Augusta Regional's proposal, which was submitted earlier this year, the airport intends to use the money to help it attract two new air carriers for direct flights to Newark, N.J., Washington and Chicago.

In choosing airports for the Small Community Air Service Development Pilot Program, the DOT looked at airports that higher airfares compared to other cities.

As part of the application, airport officials also had to show local support through matching funds, which totaled about $1.4 million.

Part of that money includes incentives the airport has already offered to prospective airlines, such as Continental and United. The airport included $566,000 raised in travel pledges from the community for use on Continental if the airline decides to start service.