Allocations for five Oklahoma military-related projects were approved Thursday by Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, including one at Enid Woodring Regional Airport.
The board voted to appropriate $180,000 to Woodring for a concrete apron with built-in tie-down points, to be built between the airport terminal and the joint-use military-civilian hangar, said Mike Cooper, city of Enid military liaison and OSMPC chairman.
The apron would be used to park military or civilian aircraft that overnight at the airport. Presently, if a number of planes park at the airport overnight and if there is no more hangar space, the aircraft must be parked on an aging ramp far from the terminal.
“We have to have a place to park them without putting them on the south ramp away from the terminal building,” said Cooper.
OSMPC asked all of the state’s military communities to submit project request for fiscal year 2017 that not only would be paid for with funds from the commission, but with “leveraged dollars,” as well, said Cooper. In the case of the Woodring ramp, there are some $300,000 in funds available from Federal Aviation Administration to help cover the cost of the apron, which is expected to fall between $450,000 and $480,000.
“One reason we have been so successful is we have been able to use a small amount of seed money and leverage other funds to supplement it,” Cooper said. “We (OSMPC) has allocated about $11 million and brought well over $300 million into the state.”
Most of the $10 million spent to extend Woodring’s main runway to 8,000 feet, a project that was completed and dedicated last fall, came from state and federal sources. The city of Enid wound up spending about $3 million on the runway project.
Other allocations approved Thursday by the commission were for road access improvement at an alternate gate for Altus Air Force Base, an enhanced use/lease project at an industrial park for a facility for the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, for road access improvement at Tinker Air Force Base and money to help the Air National Guard unit based at Tulsa International Airport in its efforts to become one of the facilities housing the latest generation fighter jet, the F-35. All of the allocations were in the $180,000 range.
The Guard requested $650,000 for engineering and design money to improve road access around Tulsa International. To help fund that project, Tinker officials agreed to defer their FY 2016 OSMPC allocation and have those funds go to the Tulsa project. In all, Cooper said, OSMPC thus allocated some $470,000 for the Tulsa project, and around $720,000 for the rest, for a total of some $1.1 million, which is subject to approval of the state budget by the Oklahoma Legislature later this session.
“The priority is on the F-35, but at the same time we are still keeping focus on everyone else working their protection and enhancement, increasing the mission and cutting costs,” Cooper said.
In the FY 2017 defense budget, the Defense Department requested $4 million to begin planning another Base Realignment and Closure Round to take place in 2019.
“We can tell it (another BRAC round) is going to happen sometime, but we don’t know when,” said Cooper.
Story by: Enid News & Eagle