(TN Senate Republican Caucus) Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and Sen. Ken Yager issued a press release announcing that they had secured $11 million in the FY23 state budget for a new general aviation airport in Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge is becoming a center for innovation, and the new airport will connect it with the rest of the country and support the economic growth of the region, according to the release.
“I am tremendously grateful for the appropriation of these funds,” said McNally. “The new Oak Ridge airport will be an economic driver ushering in a new era of connectivity for the region. I appreciate everyone who worked to bring this vision to reality.”
The airport will be located at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), a 1,300-acre industrial site near the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. With proximity to Interstate 40, Interstate 75 and State Routes 58, 95 and 62, companies are locating at ETTP and investing millions of dollars in advanced energy research and development as well as medical isotope production. The airport would support general aviation aircraft and not commercial flights.
“The Oak Ridge corridor is an expanding hub for innovation and an airport is needed to fully realize its potential,” said Yager. “This project will be huge for the economic success of the region. I’m grateful for the support and collaboration of Gov. Lee, Lt. Gov. McNally and my Senate colleagues on ensuring this appropriation is included in the budget.”
The project is expected to cost about $55 million and is relying on funding from various other sources, including local and federal funding. The $11 million state appropriation will be used to assist with the purchase of private property this year, which is a necessary step for detailed site preparation and pre-construction planning.
An Environmental Assessment and Preliminary Engineering study is currently being prepared for the project, and other planning efforts are underway. The goal is to have the airport completed and planes in the air in 2025.