Over $14 Million Split Between The Two For General Improvements
The DOT and the FAA announced grants for two airports Wednesday totaling over $14 million. In line for the grants are Ocean County Airport in Berkley Township, NJ, and José Aponte de la Torre Airport in Ceiba, Puerto Rico.
In Puerto Rico, $8.1 million will go to upgrade the electrical system at Ceiba. “Investing in our nation’s airports promotes economic growth,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (pictured, left) said. “This funding will help the airport make critical repairs to aging infrastructure and will keep general aviation aircraft moving safely and efficiently through San Juan.”
The grant will fund replacement of the airport’s electrical system to meet current and future airport demands, bringing the system into compliance with the Puerto Rico Electrical Power Agency’s electrical grid requirements. “Upgrading airport infrastructure at Ceiba Airport will help maintain a safe and efficient air transportation system in Puerto Rico,” Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta (pictured, right) said.
The project is part of an ongoing effort to convert the former military airfield to civilian use. The U.S. military installed the electrical system more than 50 years ago. The facility operated as the U.S. Navy’s Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station until November 2008 when it was transferred to the Puerto Rico Ports Authority. Construction will begin in November and will take approximately one year to complete.
In New Jersey, Ocean County will receive a $6.2 million grant to construct a new runway at the Robert J. Miller-Ocean County Airport in Berkeley Township. "Investing in our nation’s airports promotes economic growth,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This funding will help the airport make critical infrastructure improvements to enhance operations year-round.”
The grant will fund the first phase of a new 3,600-foot-long asphalt runway and taxiway, including site preparation, environmental mitigation, electrical work, and paving for a section of the new runway. The new runway 14/32, which will cross the existing runway, will provide greater flexibility for smaller aircraft. A second runway will increase efficiency, especially during the winter when prevailing northwest winds limit operations on the airport’s existing 6,000-foot-long runway, 6/24.
“The new runway will enhance efficiency at the airport all year long,” said acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “This is an important investment in a vital South Jersey airport.”
Approximately 100 aircraft are based at the airport, including aerial firefighting teams, a Civil Air Patrol unit, emergency service aircraft, and corporate and recreational aircraft. A total of 31,000 takeoffs and landings occur annually. The $6.2 million grant from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) helps fund the first phase of the runway project, which will be completed in late 2013, with Ocean County providing the remaining $700,000 toward the total $6.9 million cost. Phase two of the project will begin in 2013, and is expected to be completed late in 2014.
The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) provides $3.35 billion in annual funding for airport improvement projects that are vital to maintaining the safety, capacity, and environmental stewardship of our nation’s airports. More than 3,300 airports are eligible for AIP grants benefiting commercial passengers, cargo operations, and general aviation activities throughout the nation.