Huntsville International Airport improvements play a role in economic development

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville International Airport is in the middle of a project to add taxiways for its airfield. And it just got a grant to help move that project along.

The Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority received a $9.6 million grant to use for its Taxiway C project.

Airport officials say they need it to accommodate big aircraft. This segment of taxiway would enhance safety by limiting the mid-field runway crossings large cargo aircraft have to make.

Leaders say work at the airport like this isn't just an infrastructure improvement, but an investment in this area's future.

"I think a lot of times, people are surprised to learn how much of an impact an airport has on economic development," said airport Public Relations Manager Jana Kuner. "Whenever a new industry is looking at a market, they look at all their transportation needs being met. So, this is very important for us to continue to have an airport that can facilitate all a new industry's needs."

She added that improving infrastructure is part of investing in the airport's future, by anticipating its future needs and increased air traffic they're expecting.

"We are looking at the future now and are trying to make sure we keep up with our infrastructure and are setting ourselves up to be prepared to grow."

The completion date for the improvement is August 2017.

Airport officials tell us this was one of six grants valued at over $90 million that were awarded by the FAA to improve infrastructure at airports across the country.

In a release, US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said, "A safe and efficient transportation system for the travelling public requires building and maintaining the airport infrastructure at our nation's airports. When we fund critical projects like these, we're making an important investment in our future while also creating jobs and supporting local economies across the country."