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RELEASE – Record-setting grant paves the way for runway reconstruction at Reno-Stead Airport

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RENO, Nev. – Reno-Stead Airport officials are pleased to announce the largest Federal Aviation Administration grant in Reno-Stead history. The $21 million grant provides funding for runway reconstruction that will enhance operational safety.

The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority Board, which owns and operates Reno-Stead Airport, approved the construction contract yesterday with Sparks-based Road and Highway Builders, LLC. Construction is set to begin March 8.

Runway 8-26 is Reno-Stead’s main runway and is in need of improvements. It’s been 25 years since the runway was last reconstructed. Reconstruction in 1993 took approximately 100 days to complete to a point where aircraft could operate on the pavement. That means the reconstruction was ready for operation almost two months before the start of the 1993 Reno Air Races.

Like 1993, airport officials expect the reconstructed runway to be ready for operation almost two months before the start of the 2018 Air Races. The contractor’s schedule estimates the pavement will be ready for operation by July 3.

The FAA funding is the largest single grant ever received by Reno-Stead and will employ 120 construction workers on the project. It is more than the total grant funding received at Reno-Stead over the past 12 years combined. The federal requirement of a 6.25 percent local share match means the RTAA has committed to funding $1.359 million from its internal sources.

“Safety is always our number one priority,” said Marily Mora, President and CEO of Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority (RTAA). “The RTAA staff has extensive experience overseeing pavement projects at our airports almost every year. We know how to get these projects done on time while coordinating them with an operating airport.”

Reconstruction also enhances safety for the vital Bureau of Land Management firefighting air attack base at Reno-Stead. The base broke records for flights last year, supporting up to 90 flights a day fighting raging wildfires in Nevada and northern California.  The airport is also a major drone testing site for high tech companies and NASA.

“This reconstruction is not about any one tenant or user of the Reno-Stead Airport,” Mora said. “It’s about keeping Stead the safest and most efficient airport it can be to serve our region and customers seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

Airport officials have communicated the plan to reconstruct the runway to Stead pilots, businesses and the Reno Air Racing Association for more than a year. The investment in runway infrastructure will permit Reno-Stead Airport to meet the growing needs of aviation users for 20 years, including the ability to safely host the National Championship Air Races.

With concerns nationally about aging airport infrastructure, this federal investment addresses a critical need in our community and the RTAA is appreciative of the support from the Northern Nevada Congressional Delegation that helped bring this grant to Reno-Stead.


The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority receives no state or local funding. All operating revenues are derived from tenant and concession fees. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) is the 66th busiest commercial airport in the United States, with 3.6 million passengers per year. For more details, visit