I was chatting with the owner of a small public-use (but privately-owned) airport. He’d gotten $3 million in state funding to repave the sub-3000′ runway and a parallel taxiway.
I said “That’s nuts. How do the airparks afford to maintain their runways when they might have only 30 houses?” (It would make a lot more sense to build the hangar homes next to a quiet publicly owned airport that is eligible for federal and state funds, but the regulations around “through-the-fence” access are complex.)
He said, “Oh, if you did it with private money it would be $1 million. When the state runs a project, the costs are a lot higher.”
He went on to explain that he had recently installed a Siemens-manufactured VASI next to the runway (these are the red/white lights that tell pilots whether they are above or below the standard glide slope for landing). With a bit of pitching in by based aircraft owners, the cost was $8,000. A nearby publicly owned airport installed the same Siemens-built equipment with federal money. The cost was $120,000 (15X).