Port of Longview commissioners Wednesday unanimously approved the budget for the regional airport in Kelso.
Commissioners OK’d the Southwest Washington Regional Airport budget for $3.05 million, up from $2.05 million in 2022. Owned and operated by the city of Kelso, the airport also has an agreement with the Port of Longview, the city of Longview and Cowlitz County.
The airport budget was recently amended to include an approved $1.2 million loan from the Washington state Department of Transportation that will help pay for updated fuel system tanks.
Chris Paolini, the airport’s manager, has advocated for several years to replace the current 40-year-old aboveground fuel tanks that he said are outdated. Nationwide cost inflation put a halt on the project, which a WSDOT Community Aviation Revitalization Board loan recently put back on the table for approval.
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As part of the interlocal agreement, each of the four entities will help the airport repay the loan over 20 years, with each party agreeing to pay $15,000 annually.