The combination of a $5 million state contribution and $20 million in federal funding will result in a new 30,000 square foot terminal for the Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah. The project is expected to break ground in the spring of 2021 and be completed by the end of 2023.
Governor Andy Beshear visited the airport earlier today to announce the $5 million award from the Kentucky Department of Aviation which, when combined with the $20 million in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding, will provide for ADA-compliant bathrooms, security upgrades, expanded parking lots, a new entrance road to the facility and a new terminal apron in addition to the new terminal building.
“Airports serve as our state’s ‘front door’ and replacing the almost 70-year-old terminal will make our state more attractive to Kentuckians, visitors and prospective businesses for years to come,” Beshear said. “The new airport will truly open up western Kentucky to the world and help us to build that bigger, brighter future for all our families. When we work together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.”
Local officials have been working to secure funding for the new terminal for more than a decade. The airport is currently one of six commercial airports in the state, providing twice-daily service to Chicago O’Hare on United Express Airlines operated by Sky West Airlines. Replacing the outdated terminal will allow the airport to accommodate additional airlines, larger aircraft and indoor retail vendors.
Airport Board Chairman George Bray said he and the board members “are extremely grateful and appreciative” of the support from Beshear’s administration for the project.
“It shows that he understands that Barkley Regional Airport is indeed the ‘airport for our future’ as a region,” he said. “We at the airport believe this new terminal will be the spark of many great things that lie ahead both on and around the airport, and throughout the region.”
Several state and local officials and business leaders attended the announcement as well, all of whom celebrated the major win for the western Kentucky region, not only for the potential of the project itself but also opportunities to provide short-term and long-term employment benefits including construction jobs and jobs in aerospace, tourism and air cargo.
Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce President Sandra Wilson said, “Securing funding for the Barkley Airport project was one of [the chamber’s] top priorities because it is so important to our region. We are thrilled this is happening for us and really appreciate the support of Gov. Beshear in making it happen.”
“This is good news for our community. This new project will be a tremendous help to our economic development efforts,” said Rep. Steven Rudy of Paducah. “The Senate Majority Floor Leader has acquired the federal monies necessary to match our state’s commitment to this project, making this a great example of the good we can do when we put Kentucky first.”
Rep. Randy Bridges of Paducah said, “This project will benefit so many of the men and women of our district, and, frankly, this entire region. Investing in our infrastructure – including our regional airport – is so critical to our success.”
City of Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless said, “We have been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to obtain funding to build a new airport terminal. The support from Gov. Beshear and the state government makes our project possible. We believe when one part of the state does well, the entire state does well. This regional economic development project will help all of far western Kentucky.”
“Gov. Beshear has pledged to be a strong partner with our community to enhance our airport and support our economic development efforts,” said McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer. “Today, he made good on his promise.”
The airport began in 1941 as a military surplus airport facilitating B-17 Bomber Crew Training and serviced its first commercial flight in 1946. The airport is named for former Vice President Alben Barkley, who served in both houses of Congress and as the 35th vice president of the United States from 1949-1953.