Gregg County allocates about $9 million for East Texas Regional Airport maintenance

The Gregg County Commissioners Court approved nearly $9 million for maintenance required by the FAA.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 11:04 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:19 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas Regional Airport’s main runway is about to get a makeover. The Gregg County Commissioners Court approved nearly $9 million for maintenance required by the FAA. And the good news is most of that money will be paid back to the county by the FAA.

East Texas Regional Airport Operations Director Brad Kranzman said the FAA likes a smooth runway and it’s been about 15 years since the last work.

“We’re going to be doing a rehabilitation project of our main runway, runway 13-31,” Kranzman said.

He said there could be delays during the project, but with Regional’s 10,000 foot runway there’s still room to land.

“For the most part when they start the project it will be about 6,000 feet that will be considered usable runway. They’ll do what they call displacing the threshold of the runway,” Kranzman said.

Which basically means part of the runway will be closed for takeoffs and landings. For most air traffic that’s not a problem, but the big ones need more distance.

“The bigger planes won’t be able to come in. Most of our military traffic will, of course, have to go somewhere else because they like the longer runway so they won’t be able to use that,” Kranzman said.

Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said this is only half the project.

“After this one’s done, we’ll come back with another $9 million, it’ll be about an $18 million, $19 million project that will be refurbishing all of the airstrips out there,” Stoudt said.

Kranzman said the project could affect fuel sales to larger aircraft since they won’t be able to land on the temporarily shortened runway. He also points out that the heavier an aircraft is, the longer it takes to stop.

“As far as affecting it, they might have to carry fewer passengers, fewer bags, things of that nature because of the shorter runway,” Kranzman said.

Judge Stoudt said the FAA will be giving Gregg County 90 percent of the money back in the form of grants.

“Say $19 million, we have to put up a million nine,” Stoudt said.

He said that amount will be reduced by about $100,000 thanks to a fee of around $4 airline passengers already pay as part of their tickets. All to help contribute to happy landings and take-offs.

Phase one of the project is slated to begin in the fall of 2024 and take about a year to complete.

Also in Gregg County Commissioners Court, an unexpected repair cost was approved.

The $30,000 bill was for air conditioner repair that shut down the courthouse a week ago Friday. The chilling units had gone down and to fix the system, water had to be shut off. Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said the repairs took all day Saturday, but the courthouse was reopened last Monday.

“But it takes a while to get this courthouse cooled down to the temperature that we keep it at. And it’s all monitored through a computer with base programming. It turns the air conditioners on, keeps them regulating. It takes a while to get back on the system,” Stoudt said.

Stoudt said some pipes that had to be worked on were about 10 feet underground and encased in concrete. That took a little extra time to repair.

KLTV’s Jamey Boyum talks with Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt about approval of about $9 million allocated for East Texas Regional Airport runway maintenance.