NCWV Airport receives $15M windfall from USDOT for new terminal project

Jul. 8—BRIDGEPORT — North Central West Virginia Airport is about to have a new terminal thanks to a grant from the federal government.

Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that NCWV Airport was awarded $15 million in funds from President Biden's infrastructure package which passed last November.

The funds will be put toward construction of a new terminal for the airport.

Years of improvements have happened on the organizational side and the industrial side of the NCWV Airport, but passengers are still departing out of the same terminal built in 1966, when the airport opened to the public.

Last summer, the airport's board — the Benedum Airport Authority — announced a major project to excavate a huge portion of earth to create 100 acres of usable land for industry and a new 40,000 square-foot terminal.

What became known as the "move the mountain" project, cost around $10 million to complete and was nearing completion at the start of this summer.

The new terminal is expected to cost $25 million. The $15 million from the USDOT puts that budget target in range. Another $20 million was granted to the airport in 2019 by Gov. Jim Justice, $10 million of which went to pay for the excavation and another $10 million for building the terminal.

David Hinkle, a Harrison County commissioner and member of the BAA, said he was surprised how quickly this project has come together all things considered.

"We climbed a mountain we weren't sure we'd ever see the top of, especially in this amount of time, this has only been a project for five years," Hinkle said. "A lot of people played an important role in it from the mayor of Bridgeport to the board members to our [U.S.] senators."

Senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., both fought for the grant announced Thursday and helped make the case that the NCWV Airport is a vital piece of infrastructure to the economy of North Central West Virginia.

Rick Rock, executive director of the airport, has made a lot of big changes to the facilities and the operations and has been a driving force behind getting these dollars secured.

He knew when starting this project that it was outside the scope of the BAA and its budget, so federal funds were a must.

"We wanted to set the example of how these projects can be successful. We knew it'd take the federal government, the state government and locally to get this project done," Rock said. "We're just glad that everyone came through and supported us, saw the vision and understood how important aviation is to West Virginia."

Despite its location lying across the border in Harrison County, Marion County has an equal stake in the airport and its economic impact.

Marion County Commission President Randy Elliott also sits on the BAA and is just as excited for the news about the grant and the impact it will have on the entire region.

"It means so much to us to be able to see the progress up there at the airport. We've grown so much from struggling to meet the 10,000-enplanement minimum to receive federal funding. Now we hit upwards of 30- to 40,000 enplanements a year," Elliott said. "The big-ticket item was to get federal support for this project, and I'm thankful to our senators for helping us and get this new terminal."

Reach David Kirk at 304-367-2522 or by email at