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County supports FAA grant application for Fallbrook Airpark

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to authorize grant applications to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five county airport improvement projects, including runway safety area improvements at Fallbrook Community Airpark.

The supervisors’ 5-0 vote June 30 also authorizes the director of the county’s Department of Public Works or his designee to accept the grants if awarded and to negotiate and execute application, payment request, agreement, amendment, and other documents related to the potential grants.

Although the Department of Public Works was given the authority to accept the grants, the actual appropriation of any grant awards will return to the county supervisors when the money is available.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program provides grants which fund up to 95 percent of qualified airport improvement projects. Although the grants are competitive, the FAA allocates a certain amount for each class of airports in each FAA region.

From time to time grant funds become available toward the end of the Federal and state fiscal years when airports in the region are unable to complete projects. The grant applications authorized June 30 seek money from that funding source, so their success will depend on the amount available from that source as well as the competitiveness of the County Airport projects.

The five grant applications total $15.1 million in requests. The grant application for Fallbrook Community Airpark seeks $6 million to construct Runway 18/36 safety area improvements.

The State Division of Aeronautics has a California Aid to Airports Program which offers grants of up to 2.5 percent of the FAA award when the state budget allows; since 2.5 percent of 95 percent is 2.375 percent the county would only be responsible for 2.625 percent of a project’s cost if full Federal and state grant money is awarded. The county’s contributions are provided through the Airport Enterprise Fund derived from rent collected from businesses leasing land.

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