Duluth Airport officials meet with FAA in Washington D.C. for runway expansion project

By KBJR News 1

April 8, 2014 Updated Apr 8, 2014 at 7:58 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- Duluth International Airport officials, along with Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner-Solon, Congressman Rick Nolan and several Northland Business leaders met with the Federal Aviation AdministrationTuesday and made their pitch for a $30 million dollar runway reconstruction and expansion project.

During the meeting, officials with the F-A-A told the group that there is not enough information on the project quite yet.

The F-A-A did commit to send the Chicago Area Division Manager to Duluth in the coming weeks to get a better idea of the runway project.

The group is asking for $30-million dollars from the federal government as part of a complete renovation of Duluth International Airport's primary runway, 9-27.

Of those funds, 11-million dollars would be used to expand their existing secondary runway, 3-21.

In about ten years, the Duluth International Airport's primary runway will have to undergo a total reconstruction.

At that time, if there is not a long enough secondary runway, all major air carriers will be un-able to land in Duluth throughout the construction period.

Prior to the reconstruction, officials are fighting for the expansion of Runway 3-21, the existing secondary runway that measures in at 5700 ft long.

That way, A-A-R, Allegiant, Delta and the 148th Fighter Wing can continue to land in Duluth.

Airport officials say they accomplished what they wanted to by planting the seed in Washington and setting the stage for future discussions.

"It was good to hear today that they are receptive and that there's a spirit of cooperation with the F-A-A. I'm very hopeful that we'll be able to work with them and find common ground and ultimately lead to project success," said Tom Werner, Executive Director of the Duluth International Airport.

Mary Walsh with the F-A-A promised Congressman Rick Nolan that she would follow-up with him in sixty days if the group was still moving forward with the airport plans.

Some big names have backed the project.

Congressman Rick Nolan says he will stay on top of this and fully supports it.

The group also has support from Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Al Franken.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati