DAGGETT• The Barstow/Daggett Airport has been awarded funding totaling $4.3 million, which will be used to upgrade the airport's aging electrical system and add on to an existing taxiway.


Construction is scheduled to begin Nov. 1 and should be completed within six months, according to Michael Williams, director of airports for San Bernardino County.  


The funding was provided by the Federal Aviation Administration through the Airport Improvement Program. The program will be funding 95 percent of the cost and the County Department of Airports will be providing the remaining 5 percent.


Improvements will include electrical upgrades and an extension to one of the existing three taxiways, said Williams.  


The electrical improvements will include replacement of underground fixtures and new cables. Some of the equipment has been in use for a few decades.


"Most of [the equipment] is within the 30 to 40 years age bracket," said Williams.  "We're anxious to get it done."


The extension to the taxiway was needed because planes currently have to turn around on the taxiway in order to park.  This can be a safety issue and can also cause problems with the flow of airport traffic.


Williams did not know what the long-term effect of the project would have on the local economy. Currently, the local military bases are one of the main clients of the airport.


"The long term growth is unknown, but it has the potential to make the airport more viable for future development," said Williams.


The Airport Improvement Program funds improvements to airports that will improve safety, capacity and noise compatibility.  The funds are generated through the sale of airline tickets, airplane fuel and other revenue generated by aviation.