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Asheville airport wins grant for runway project

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority a $6.5 million grant to help pay for its upcoming airfield redevelopment project.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will distribute the funding, which will be used for the first phase of a four-year project that will result in the construction of a new runway and a west-side taxiway.

"I am very happy that Asheville Regional received this grant," said U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows. "This will make it possible for the airport to upgrade its runway and continue to serve the citizens of Western North Carolina. Having a modernized transportation hub that supports our business community is critical for economic growth in the area."

The current runway is more than 50 years old. Over the years, the pavement has had to be resurfaced numerous times. The FAA has prioritized the construction of a new runway – to bring the airfield at AVL up to the most current construction standards.

"This project will be the biggest in the airport's history since the airport was built, and is a big part of the future of our region's airport," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., executive director of Asheville Regional Airport.

The total cost of the project is $64 million over four years, with 100 percent of the costs  covered by the FAA, NCDOT and airport funds intended for airport infrastructure improvement.

An official groundbreaking is scheduled for August 8.