Rep. Banks gets first-hand look at local airport apron extension

Mayor Brooks Fetters (right) fills in U.S. Representative Jim Banks about the Huntington Municipal Airport’s apron expansion project during a stop at the facility on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Banks spent the day in Huntington as part of a weeklong tour of the Third Congressional District.
Mayor Brooks Fetters (right) fills in U.S. Representative Jim Banks about the Huntington Municipal Airport’s apron expansion project during a stop at the facility on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Banks spent the day in Huntington as part of a weeklong tour of the Third Congressional District. Photo by Steve Clark.

U.S. Representative Jim Banks viewed the progress of the Huntington Municipal Airport apron expansion project during a stop in Huntington on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Banks (R-Third District) also visited two Huntington businesses, Continental Structural Plastics and Our Sunday Visitor, and spoke to the Huntington Rotary Club during the stop, which was made as part of a weeklong tour of the district.

Banks’ visit to the Huntington airport came a little over two weeks after work commenced on the apron project’s second phase. The expanded apron is expected to be useable by aircraft by year’s end and fully completed by spring of 2018. Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters and airport representatives expressed hope during the tour that the enhancement would draw larger aircraft to the facility.

“I’ve heard about the great work being done here,” said Banks, “but now to have the opportunity to come and learn and see it firsthand is helpful.”

After the project is completed, Banks inquired what future projects might address and pledged his support for them at the federal level.

“It’s exciting to see (the progress), but also brainstorm with them about things that they can look forward to in the future that we can be an advocate for,” said Banks. “So, when it comes to any airport, the regulatory body being the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and that being a federal agency, it’s an opportunity for me as a congressman to engage on that level and help them and that’s what I want to do.”

The FAA contributed 90 percent of the funding for the apron project’s $1.6 million price tag. The remaining 10 percent came from the Indiana Department of Transportation and the airport itself.

In addition to the airport’s growth, Banks observed the progress at Continental Structural Plastics, which is adding 130,000 square feet of new manufacturing space to its existing 200,000-square-foot building.

The total cost of the expansion project, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, is $33.5 million.

The work at both CSP and the airport made a positive impression on Banks about Huntington’s direction.

“It’s always good to be in Huntington and spend time with the mayor and hear the excitement in the air about what’s going on here,” he said. “There are a lot of great local leaders that make that possible.”