North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field is one step closer to receiving more than $550,000 of federal funding annually as the U.S. Department of Transportation started a review this week of the cost-benefit ratio for a funding program.

The announcement was made by U.S. Rep. Ratcliffe during an event in Sherman Wednesday afternoon. Ratcliffe said this update to the cost-benefit ratio puts NTRA highest on the list of airports seeking federal funding for control tower operations through the Federal Aviation Administration.

“All of this is a technical way of saying we are first and goal on this,” Ratcliffe said. “Ultimately I am confident that our cooperation and collaboration will be a big win for Grayson County.”

If NTRA is accepted into the FAA contract tower program, it would transfer funding for the tower from Grayson County to the FAA. Currently, the county puts about $275,000 annually from its budget into tower operations.

By transferring funding responsibility to the FAA, county and airport officials said this would allow the tower to be manned and operated more hours each day.

In August Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said the airport currently records about 80,000 operations each year. However, as this only includes operations recorded by the tower and does not account for operations that take place when the tower is closed. If these were included, Magers said operations would be closer to 10 to 15 percent higher, bringing it closer to the 100,000 operations needed to be included in the program.