Plowing the snow from airport runways is a big deal, the equipment to do it is getting bigger and that requires an even bigger place to store it.

The Casper-Natrona County International Airport received approval Tuesday from the county commission to allocate airport funds to match state and federal funding for a new snow equipment storage building.

The entire project will cost about $3.8 million, airport manager Glenn Januska said.

It will be worth it.

The storage areas for equipment date to World War II when the airport was an Army Air training base, Januska said.

Modern airport snowplow equipment is much larger and wider than that for roads because runways don't have the width restrictions or parked cars, he said.

It's also much more expensive.

The airport owns plow trucks costing upwards of $450,000, and recently purchased a new $750,000 snowblower that can clear 7,500 tons of snow an hour, he said. "That's something you don't want to have to park outside or have to maneuver around bollards or move around other pieces of equipment."

The total cost is $3,801,694, and the Federal Aviation Administration would pay 93.75 percent, or $3,564,088 of it. That funding comes from the Aviation Trust Fund supported by airport usage, ticket fees, fuel taxes and similar revenues, Januska said. "The more people who use the system, the more demand is for facilities, the more revenue there is."

The state would pay 3.75 percent or $142,564 and the airport -- the project sponsor -- would pay 2.5 percent, or $95,042.

The building would be located on an old runway by Allen Avenue northeast of the control tower, Januska said. It would allow direct access by the equipment to the runways, and public access to the offices, he said.

Specific dimensions and the footprint won't be known until later this year, Januska said. "We'll probably be looking at designing it this fall, probably bidding it out this winter toward spring, looking forward to a late spring early summer construction."