A $5.95 million freight ramp and cargo facility project received a $4.76 million boost from the state today when Gov. Ted Kulongoski awarded the Medford airport a ConnectOregon II grant.

A $5.95 million freight ramp and cargo facility project received a $4.76 million boost from the state today when Gov. Ted Kulongoski awarded the Medford airport a ConnectOregon II grant.

A total of 78 projects seeking $214,814,825 were submitted for the grants, with 30 gaining approval by the Legislature last week.

"We have cargo facilities scattered all over the airport right now, and from a security standpoint it will be good to have it all in one place," Airport Director Bern Case said.

The list was pared to 70 before serious consideration began, said Teddie Baker, freight planner for Oregon Department of Transportation.

In other projects, Burlington Northern was awarded $5.2 million to help improve a heavily congested rail system. Coos County Airport District got $624,000 for the construction of the first air traffic control tower at the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport

Connect Oregon is a program created by the governor in 2005 that provides funding through lottery-backed bonds and leverages partnerships to non-highway transportation projects statewide. In conjunction with cities, counties, planning organizations and other jurisdictions, businesses and stakeholders, the Connect Oregon program improves connections, enhances transportation options and supports the economy statewide. The 2007 legislature approved Connect Oregon II.

— Greg Stiles