CARO — The Michigan Department of Transportation has downgraded the license of the Tuscola Area Airport, effectively cutting it off from state and federal funding and potentially costing taxpayers.
Juan Zapata, compliance officer, Michigan Department of Transportation, told The Advertiser the airport’s license has changed from “General Utility License” to “Basic Utility License,” following an April inspection.
The type of license generally refers to the aircraft landing zone, though the bigger impact to the public is that airports that carry a basic utility license are ineligible to receive state and federal funds.
The airport depends on such funds for much of its revenue and its five-year plan includes many much-needed — and expensive — upgrades, ranging from runway repairs to a new building.
“The big deal between the general and the basic utility license is that the basic utility license is not eligible for any kind of state or federal funding,” Zapata said. “If they had any projects that were going to be completed this year, they will put those projects on hold and that’s at the discretion of the state.”
(Story first appeared in the July 30, 2016 print edition of The Tuscola County Advertiser. The rest of the story can be read online here.)