Airport one step closer to new taxiway
Tehachapi City Council Update
September 14, 2019
Five years ago, the City of Tehachapi formed an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration for the environmental assessments necessary for the relocation and reconstruction of the south-side taxiway at Tehachapi Airport including the connecting taxiways and the associated improvements to water drainage in the area. The proposed taxiway will be shifted an additional 28 feet from the existing runway in order to comply with new airfield standards meant to accommodate some of today’s larger aircraft. All of those studies have now been completed.
On Sept. 2, the City Council voted to enter into an agreement with the FAA for their portion of the funding to move on to the design phase of the project. Once those funds are secured, a grant request will be submitted to Caltrans Aeronautics Division for their share of the design phase expenses. Total design phase expenses are expected to be $210,000 with the City’s share expected to be $11,550. Councilman Kenneth Hetge was required to recuse himself from any discussion of the project and could not vote. The City Attorney had requested information and received several communications from the State of California Fair Political Practices Commission in Sacramento regarding the matter. They stated that as Hetge had a business located on the airport, it represented a conflict of interest and he could not vote on the issue nor be present in the audience where he could possibly make public comments that would influence a vote.
In answer to the question as to when the project will be completed, Councilman Phil Smith stated that nothing will happen for over a year. The drainage project is slated for the summer of 2021 with the remainder currently scheduled for 2022. It is planned for the airport to remain open as much as possible during the course of construction.
At the end of the meeting, during Council member comments, Councilman Phil Smith announced that the Kern Council of Governments is planning to apply for a grant to begin the process of planning for the long-awaited truck climbing lanes on Highway 58 from Bakersfield to Tehachapi.
Tehachapi City Council meetings are held the first and third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Wells Education Center, 300 S. Robinson St., Tehachapi.