By Gale Rose

Once again, the Pratt Airport Authority is going to try to find a vehicle to plow snow at the Pratt Regional Airport that fits the made in America criteria of 60 percent of vehicle has to be made in America.

That has proved to be an elusive goal. For two years the airport authority has searched for a vehicle that meets the criteria but the closest they have come is 56 percent, said Pratt Regional Airport Manager Reid Bell the monthly Airport Authority Board meeting.

The airport has federal entitlement money available to purchase a $110,000 truck with a snowplow. The federal money will pay for 90 percent of the purchase price of the truck but it also requires that 60 percent of the vehicle has to be made in America.

The search had gotten so frustrating that Bell was ready to quit looking.

"I was ready to pull the plug," Bell said.

However, he decided to try again and this time he is going to focus on finding a tractor with a plow that meets the 60 percent made in America criteria.

Funds are available through the state to purchase the vehicle that do not require the 60 percent made in America but they are a 50-50 match so the investment would be much higher for the airport.

Getting bids for a new building to house the new snow removal vehicle is also proving to be a challenge.

Over the past to years the airport authority has received three bids. They got two bids the first year but they were both so high they were thrown out.

The second year they got a bid of $400,000 that was $100,000 above the engineer's estimate. It looks like they may have to go with the bid if they want a building because no other bids have come in, Bell said.

The airport is still making repairs to facilities on the airport after the storm in August that had 100 mph to 110 mph winds.

The Fixed Base Operator, T600 Crescent Oil, a hangar wall and a T hangar all suffered damage. Many repairs have been made costing from $50,000 to $60,000.

The GLM building suffered some water damage when the wind blew water in the building. Repairs are being made to make it more watertight.