Two Polk County airports, in Lake Wales and Winter Haven, have won federal grants for improvements, the office U.S. Sen. Darren Soto announced Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Authority awarded grants of of $82,851 apiece to the Lake Wales Municipal Airport and the Winter Haven’s Gilbert Airport.

The Lake Wales Municipal Airport grant will pay for rehabilitation of 2,525 feet of a taxiway; construction of 2,000 feet of new taxiway; and finance the costs of a lighting system.

The Winter Haven grant will pay for the removal of three non-hazardous obstructions in two runways and transitional surfaces.

Soto, whose district includes eastern Polk County, included the Lake Wales runway and taxiway extensions in a list he sent in March to the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, requesting funding priorities for critical infrastructure projects in the region.

“These two airports infrastructure projects are key to continuing job growth and flight options for Polk residents and businesses. I am honored to work with both Lake Wales and Winter Haven city commissions to deliver these key projects to our district,” Soto stated in a news release issued by his office. “As we continue the debate on a potential national infrastructure bill, I am committed to continue to fight in Congress to bring home additional improvements.”

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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