Rickenbacker International Airport is slated to receive $15 million from the Federal Aviation Administration for airport improvements, including runway upgrades, that will support a projected tenfold increase in cargo activity over the next 20 years.

"The FAA grant and these improvements align with Rickenbacker's growth strategies over the next two decades," said Joseph R. Nardone, president & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which oversees the cargo-focused airport.

The Rickenbacker project is estimated to cost $33.5 million, which includes design and construction, airport officials said. The work to upgrade the runway includes relocating and replacing runway lighting, navigational aids and directional signs, as well as improving taxiway configurations and widening blast pads.

"We are grateful to our Ohio congressional delegation and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao for recognizing Rickenbacker's economic importance to the region and its critical role in international commerce," Nardone said.

Rickenbacker contributes 15,280 jobs, $880 million in annual payroll and $2.5 billion in annual economic impact in Ohio, according to the airport authority.

The grant announced May 15 is part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that made available an additional $1.5 billion in supplemental airport improvement funding to U.S. airports.

The money is in addition to the $3.31 billion awarded in Airport Improvement Program funding during fiscal year 2018, and $205 million awarded in the first wave of supplemental funding in September 2018.

tferan@dispatch.com

@timferan