Senators announce grant to look into Laurel airport expansion

Senators say dollars will be used to gauge impact of a new runway

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester today announced a federal grant to help develop a new runway at the Laurel Municipal Airport. The $166,250 grant will be used to investigate the environmental impact of the proposed expansion.

The Airport authority would like to add a new North-South runway to replace the current strip, which was built nearly 50 years ago.  The grant will be used to conduct an environmental assessment study around the Laurel Airport to see if a new runway would adversely affect the area.

"Airports are a lifeline in Montana. They bring in tourists and businesses and help create good paying jobs," Baucus said.   "This grant will help us make good decisions when moving forward with the Laurel Airport expansion so we can be sure we are doing what's right for Montana's economy and outdoor heritage."

"In Montana our rural airports are doorways not only to the rest of the country and world but to the rest of the state," Tester said. "This is a great first step. These dollars will ensure as we expand, we do so carefully so Montana remains the Last Best Place."

The current expansion plan would require the Airport Authority to buy additional land north of the airport.  The Laurel Airport serves the town of Laurel, Montana and Yellowstone County.