"We have mitigated everything raised in that BRAC report, except for that bridge," Tackett said Friday. "If BRAC sees we have initiated building that $9 million bridge, things should be fine."
With Byrd dead and West Virginia's other long-serving U.S. senator, Jay Rockefeller, announcing he'll leave the Senate in 2014, Tackett worries that the window to protect the Guard base is closing.
"If we get on the BRAC [closure] list this time, the base will go away," Tackett said. "We've got junior people up there who won't be able to do anything to help this air base. We have to come up with the money to build that bridge."
Yeager Airport Director Rick Atkinson said the bridge would be on the agenda at the airport board's next meeting.
The Air National Guard base provides many advantages for the civilian side of Yeager Airport, including supplying fire engines and some of the security, Atkinson said.
"It would cost us $9 million to run a fire department for two years and put in our own fire station. It would be very expensive," he said. "After two or three years, we will save more than it will cost to build a new bridge."
Money for the bridge could come from many sources, Atkinson and Tackett said, including state, county and city agencies, as well as loans or bonds.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.