The Federal Aviation Administration awarded almost $2 million to Ravalli County to top off funding for a major runway and taxiway reconstruction at the Hamilton airport. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced the $1,915,000 grant this week as part of about $16 million in funds to Montana airports.

County Commissioner Jeff Burrows said actual construction of the extended runway and new taxiway will be starting next year. He said, "We're redoing the full runway. It'll be shifted east and north just a little bit and adding on 1,000 feet...it'll be a 5,200-foot runway with new taxi-lanes and taxi-ways and some increased hanger space out there." Total cost of the work will be about $15 million.

Montana Senator Jon Tester also noted the additional funding Tuesday, saying it was important that the Montana airports "have the resources they need to make critical safety improvements and upgrades across the board." Other airports in the latest funding include Missoula, Helena, Billings, Kalispell, and Thompson Falls.