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Sunday, October 29, 2006 | 06:00pm

Grant awarded through TDOT’s Aeronautics DivisionNashville, TN—Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that the state will provide an Aeronautics Grant in the amount of $199,500 to Smyrna Airport in Rutherford County to assist with improvements to the facility.

“The Smyrna Airport, like many other general aviation airports, serves as an important hub for businesses operating in the state, for shipping, and as a reliever airport for larger flight centers, like Nashville International,” said Bredesen. “These airports are a key component of the state’s transportation system. I’m pleased to support the Smyrna Airport’s continued growth.”

“The funds from this grant will be used for important security enhancements at the Smyrna Airport,” said Representative Kent Coleman. “I’m pleased TDOT and Governor Bredesen could make this investment in Rutherford County.”

“Smyrna Airport is vital to the economy and travel systems of Rutherford County,” said Representative John Hood. “These funds will help the Smyrna Airport grow and stay competitive.”

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely explained that the grants are made available through the department’s Aeronautics Division. “This Division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee’s diverse public aviation system,” reported Nicely. “We are pleased to be able to provide millions of dollars each year for the betterment of our airports through our grant programs.”

Grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state airport system plan.

“These grants can have a significant impact on the future of a general aviation airport and its economic contributions to our state,” said TAC Chairman Lonnie Strunk. “Our board examines the applications carefully to ensure that the funds will be put to good use.”

The TDOT Aeronautics Division also has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state’s 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. General aviation includes all aircraft not flown by commercial airlines or the military. The Aeronautics Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government executives, staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission, and numerous educational support programs. The division’s offices include Administration, Finance & Grant Management, Engineering & Program Development, Flight Services, and Planning & Programming.

Senator Jim Tracy also represents Rutherford County in the Tennessee General Assembly.

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