Officials aren't sure how to use the money, which isn't enough to cover the cost of studies

SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Construction equipment and trucks move dirt at the Scappoose Industrial Airpark for a project that will see a taxiway moved, to leave more space between aircraft. The airport is slated to get a small piece of the pie from a federal transportation grant package.As construction equipment chugs along at Scappoose Industrial Airpark, the small airport is slated to get a small grant to help with future environmental studies.

Scappoose airport was named as one of six rural airports slated to share about $58,000 in federal transportation grant money to be used for "environmental studies."

The grant was announced Friday, Sept. 14, by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley as part of a $2.7 million federal transportation spending package.

"Infrastructure investment, like these grants, is essential for secure and reliable Oregon airports throughout our state," Wyden said. "These transportation resources help to maintain quality of life for Oregonians living and working in all these communities."

The Port of Columbia County owns the airpark and is responsible for managing upgrades and additions at the site.

Surprisingly, port staff say they were unaware of the funding and they aren't quite sure how it will be spent. It's unclear exactly what the port's share of funding will be, but it likely won't cover the cost of an evironmental study.

"I'm at a loss to think about what that would be for," Craig Allison, the port's facilities manager, said Wednesday.

He noted that typically, the airport gets an annual funding allocation following teleconference meetings between port officials and state and federal representatives.

"We do receive money on a recurring annual basis from the FAA," Allison explained, noting the port usually receives about $150,000 a year and can decide "whether to bank that or spend it."

The grant funding is unlikely to cover the cost of any study or new project, but Allison said the port will likely accept the funds and apply them toward future projects identified in the Airport Master Plan.

A taxiway relocation project is currently underway at Scappoose Airport. The project was funded by Federal Aviation Administration money and will bring the airport up to federal aviation standards.

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