Emily Jo Cureton, The Triplicate

Grant money to finish planning two major airport projects was announced last week, putting Jack McNamara Field $3.3 million closer to a new terminal building and runways that pass regulatory muster.

Only an estimated $30 million to go.

The first of two Department of Transportation Airport Improvement Program grants announced by Congressman Mike Thompson's office last week is for $1.4 million. It will be used to complete final design and permitting on a new 14,800 square-foot terminal, expected to cost an additional $8 million to construct.

Moving Dale Rupert Road over by 33 feet, building out a new apron, a covered parking lot and engineering for off-site water/sewage connections coming from Pebble Beach Drive bring terminal project costs up to an estimated $20 million.

The second federal grant announced last week is for $1.98 million and will be used to finish the permitting and design of runway safety improvements.

The existing runway safety area does not meet federal standards and needs to be graded and filled in order to allow emergency vehicles better access. Construction estimates are around $10 million, according to Airport Director Jim Bernard.

"These two capital improvement projects have been No. 1 and No. 2 on the airport's 'to-do list' for some time," Bernard said in the press release, "These two grants will complete the design and environmental permitting for these two projects, making them shovel-ready for construction funding beginning in 2013."

These grants are provided through the DOT's Federal Aviation Administration, Airport Improvement

program from existing aviation ticket and fuel taxes. More funding from the FAA is expected to cover 80-95 percent of the construction costs for the terminal building, and has not been applied for yet.

Bernard has said that more terminal funding will most likely not be awarded until the airport finishes building the runway safety areas.

"Jack McNamara Field Airport is an economic hub for Crescent City and the North Coast," said Thompson in the press release. "These grants will help create jobs, improve our local economy and make the airport safer for passengers and planes."

Reach Emily Jo Cureton at ecureton@triplicate.com.