Proponents hope the grant will silence opponents who say the Transpark will never get off the ground.
They believe the transpark will position North Carolina and this region of the country as a gateway to the world.
Supporters also hope that the grant, to extend the runway, will boost the transpark's chances of luring a FedEx distribution center.
"I think the effect would be to jump start our development, if you will. And I think that having FedEx would put us a few years ahead of the development curve, and that's one reason we'd like very much to have them," said Jim Sughrue, the transpark's public relations spokesman.
Transpark leaders admit the larger runway doesn't guarantee that FedEx will settle down here, but they do believe it would make the area more attractive to other businesses. It might also appease eastern North Carolina taxpayers who have been paying for the park through higher license tag fees.
If FedEx brings its high-paying jobs to Kinston, supporters believe it would silence critics who complain surrounding farmlands are the only places making money.