Taxiway 'Charlie' re-opens at San Marcos Regional Airport

Jul 30, 2023
Lance Winter

The City of San Marcos celebrated the completion of the newly reconstructed Taxiway Charlie at the San Marcos Regional Airport.

At a special event on Friday, dignitaries gathered to commemorate Taxiway Charlie’s reconstruction, something that had not been done since its original installation during World War II.

The project improvements included an upgraded LED lighting system, new signage and markings, and a total replacement of the taxiway pavement to limit the risk of debris damage. These improvements made to Taxiway Charlie enhanced the overall safety for taxiing aircraft and allowed pilots visual clarity when utilizing the taxiway.

The total cost of the reconstruction efforts came in at $5,392,730 and was funded with a Federal Aviation Administration discretionary grant issued by the TxDOT Aviation Division. The San Marcos City Council approved $539,273 from the City’s general fund to be used toward the project, representing 10 percent of total costs. Reconstruction kicked off in January 2023 and, despite a few weather delays, stayed on-time and within budget. 

Dan Harmon, Director of Aviation with TxDOT, applauded the efforts made by the entities that saw the project to fruition calling it, “A partnership that works.”

“We're getting ready to start on the next phase of this project not long from now,” Harmon said. “It will bring things together, increase development for the airfield and get more people in. It will make it safer, increase capacity, and let it be the economic engine that it is for the community.”

Jim Wimberly, President of Texas Aviation Partners, the operators of the city’s airport, thanked the City of San Marcos for its support.

“Even though we have those kinds of large capital funds from the FAA and from TxDOT to fund these, the city is also there,” Wimberly said. “They're contributing 10 percent to this project as well. There's a lot of airports in Texas that can’t afford even a 10 percent match. So, we're fortunate here. The city knows this airport is an asset and they've never balked.”

Wimberly said they have a list of approximately six projects they want to get in queue for development for the airport improvements.

“There's such a demand for air commerce in Central Texas,” Wimberly said. “It takes a lot of different shapes and forms, the number of takeoffs and landings at this airport has almost doubled in the past four years. We have constant inquiries for more hangars. We have inquiries from cargo operators. We have businesses at the airport that want to expand.”

Wimberly said it’s competitive, too.

“We're competing with New Braunfels, Austin Bergstrom, San Antonio International Airport, so we always had to put our best foot forward and make sure we're meeting the demands of people who live close to the airport,” Wimberly said.  “We're doing our best to not only plan, but to fund the kind of projects that make financial sense, and they make operational sense, and good for the pilots who are dealing with public airport. We must do our best to make sure we're doing everything in our power to keep this airport, and his tenants, in balance with each other.”

Mayor Jane Hughson said she appreciated the commitment to the improvements and safety at the San Marcos Airport.

“I would like to thank the Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration. Without the funding of course this wouldn't have happened,” Hughson said. “I'd like to thank Garver engineering and Zachary Construction who came out with the heavy equipment and made it happen. Thank you, Texas Aviation Partners, who have assisted us through the transition and work hard for our airport every day. Of course, we want to thank all the airport users and the businesses out here for your patience during the construction.’

Hughson said the Airport is important to the community and City Manager Stephanie Reyes agreed.

“We're very excited to have another step at making this airport the economic engine that we know that it can be,” Reyes said.