DALLAS -- A proposed airport in northwest Arkansas has received environmental approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, and construction on the $144 million project could begin early next year, an airport official said yesterday.

The FAA issued a favorable decision last week, clearing the way for the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Authority to obtain some of the $94 million that it requested in federal funds, airport spokesman Scott Van Laningham said. Site selection and feasibility studies already are finished for the airport, which would serve commercial airline passengers.

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