The Dane County Regional Airport received $4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund the extension of one of its taxiways.

According to Sharyn Wisniewski, spokesperson for the Dane County Regional Airport, the new taxiway will improve the safety and quality of the airfield by eliminating the need for airplanes to cross over the runway while taxiing.

“It’s something that the airport has had in the Capital Improvement Plan for development in a few years, but the stimulus allows the airport to go ahead with the project,” Wisniewski said.

Wisniewski attributes the help to Gov. Jim Doyle and Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.

Lee Sensenbrenner, spokesperson for Doyle, said the runway will also create more than 50 jobs and improve the long-term well-being of the airport.

“It creates jobs for local residents, improves the long-term economic growth of Dane County and then enables Wisconsin to travel safely,” Sensenbrenner said.

Sensenbrenner added the full-length taxiway will reduce the risk of collision and accidents and allows planes to take off and land more quickly and efficiently.

Josh Wescott, spokesperson for Falk, said because the project was “shovel ready” and all the groundwork was set, Doyle was able to lobby on the county’s behalf for stimulus money from President Barack Obama last December.

The project is important because the Dane County Airport plays a vital role in the local economy, Wescott said. He added Epic and American Family Insurance, as well as the other major companies situated in Dane County, perform 60 percent of their business through travel.

“This exciting project not only helps put people to work, it’s also a big upgrade for an airport so vitally important to Dane County’s economy,” Falk said in a statement. “Our airport offers great convenience for business travelers whether they’re coming or going.”

Wisniewski said construction companies will go to bid on the project in May, and the project will most likely start in June.