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February 22, 2014

Airport Authority hopes for new deal with INDOT

Agency agreement needed for FAA grant funds to flow

JEFFERSONVILLE — Officials with the South Central Regional Airport Authority hope to get a new agency agreement in place with the Indiana Department of Transportation soon, but they don’t want to have to agree to more than any other Indiana airport.

The agency agreement is necessary for the authority to receive grant funds from the Federal Aviation Commission. Without the agreement in place, the authority can’t collect FAA funds, said board attorney Greg Fifer.

“Without that agreement, the money gets to the state, but it can’t get to us,” Fifer said.

He said the authority’s predecessor, the Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners, struck an agency agreement with INDOT in 1971. But when the air board became the airport authority, INDOT was unable to locate the original agreement. Now, INDOT wants the airport authority to sign a new, 11-page agreement.

“They sent us a replacement agreement that was very, very complicated,” Fifer said. “It had references to lots of other laws. It appeared to be more of a transportation contract, where you’re doing improvement projects with INDOT, because you’d see it for that kind of thing.”

Fifer said INDOT is pursuing new agency agreements with each airport in Indiana that receives grant funds from the FAA. He wants to make sure the agreement that the airport authority signs will be the same as the one every other airport will sign.

“All I want to end up with is the same agreement everyone else is going to have,” he said.

Clark Regional Airport Manager Melodee McNames said she’d like to see the issue resolved within 60 days. Airport Authority President Tom Galligan said the authority will attempt to work with state Sen. Ron Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, to resolve the issue.

“I think what it is, is it’s just your bureaucratic snafu, which is what happens when so many people get involved,” Galligan said. “So what we’re going to do is just cut to the chase and get down to the people that are really responsible and have Sen. Grooms help us work our way through the system.”

Fifer said he believed the issue could be resolved within 60 to 90 days.

“[INDOT] can’t write us any checks right now, and [McNames] can’t pay any claims for grant work right now,” Fifer said. “So we need to get this resolved in the next 60 days or so.

“It’s not anything that’s causing an imminent crisis, but it does need to be resolved.”

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