WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp announced three federal grants totaling over $36 million to support the construction of the new Williston airport as well as to support infrastructure upgrades to the Bismarck and Dickinson airports.
“North Dakota’s airports connect us to the rest of the country whether that is for personal or business travel, or so our businesses to get products to markets across the globe,” said Heitkamp. “These federal funds will support three major economic regions in North Dakota – Williston, Bismarck, and Dickinson. The growing demands in the western part of our state have made it necessary that we construct a new airport in Williston, enhance the Dickinson Airport, and meet the needs of our capitol city in Bismarck. With these federal investments we will be able to continue to grow our economy and continue to keep North Dakota a wonderful place to call home.”
The federal funds are distributed as follows:
- Williston Airport: $19,273,313 in federal funding to support the construction of the new Williston Airport. This federal funding comes in addition to the over $21.3 million in federal funding already announced this year.
- Bismarck Municipal Airport: $16,295,641 in federal funding to support the rehabilitation of a runway.
- Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport: $603,325 in federal funding to help extend a runway.
The new Williston Airport has been a key transportation priority for Heitkamp. She has been advocating for the construction of the new airport in Williston that will meet the demands of the expanding region. In October 2016, Heitkamp attended the ground breaking ceremony for the new airport where she reinforced the need for continued and strong support for western North Dakota as it continues to grow. The ground breaking ceremony came after years of work. In April 2014, Heitkamp brought in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta to western North Dakota to see firsthand the impact the energy boom has had on the state’s transportation infrastructure. Following up on this visit, Heitkamp urged him to approve the construction of a new airport for Williston and advocated for the funding to move forward on construction. In addition to the funding announced this year alone, other federal investments have been made for the city of Williston. In September 2015 the FAA invested $27 million in federal funding to support the relocation of Williston’s airport and in September 2016 the FAA invested an additional $26 million for the construction of the new airport.
This federal funding comes through the U.S. Department of Transportation and Heitkamp has been fighting to make sure air services continue to airports across North Dakota through continued funding of the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. EAS connects rural and remote areas to major hubs, helping small business and creating jobs in rural areas. Heitkamp has pushed back against efforts in the president’s budget to eliminate EAS funding, which would hurt rural airports including in Dickinson.