Passenger Requirement Waived for Grant Money

Laramie, WY – Airports in Laramie, Riverton, and Rock Springs will not need 10,000 passengers to receive a million dollar grant for airport improvements. That's because in the FAA Reauthorization Bill the President signed this month, the passenger requirement for getting the money was waived. Riverton's airport is expected to meet that requirement, but Laramie and Rock Springs would have come up short. Laramie Airport Manager Jack Skinner says the waiver is a relief because they can now make a critical upgrade to a runway used for bad weather landings. If the passenger requirement wasn't waived this year, Skinner says they would be forced to phase in the project over four or five years. Now it will be done this spring. For Laramie to meet the requirement in 2004, it may depend on whether Great Lakes Airlines is allowed to start bus service to Denver International Airport. Laramie Airport Manager Jack Skinner says they will be able to count bus passengers toward the 10,000. If that service doesn't get approved, Skinner says the may struggle to meet the requirement. Meanwhile, Rock Springs Airport officials say their passenger numbers are improving and if that continues they should be able to meet the requirement next year.