The Montana Department of Transportation and New Jersey Department of Transportation recently issued millions in funding to support a variety of airport safety and improvement projects.
[Above photo by the Montana DOT]
The Montana DOT said its Aeronautics Board recently approved over $3 million in funding for 61 projects at 35 public airports statewide.
The agency noted in a statement that funding would support a variety of improvement projects, including lighting enhancements; runway, taxiway, and apron reconstruction projects; perimeter fencing; snow removal equipment; and the installation of weather cameras.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey DOT awarded 11 grants to 11 airports in eight counties worth a total of $8.5 million on February 14 to support a variety of projects, including runway rehabilitation, taxiway construction, lighting improvements, and obstruction removal.
New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund and Airport Safety Fund provides those grants, with the state providing 90 percent of the eligible cost and the remaining 10 percent covered by the airport owner.
“General aviation airports not only provide transportation for residents, businesses, and visitors, but also serve as key economic engines for local communities,” explained New Jersey DOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti in a statement. “These grants will improve our public-use airports, so all facets of New Jersey’s multi-modal transportation system are modern and safe.”
Several state department of transportation studies – including ones from Illinois, Georgia, Wyoming, and Alaska – show that airports function as significant “economic engines” as well as key mobility hubs.
Yet airports are also suffering long-term fiscal losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A report by the trade association Airports Council International–North America indicates U.S. airports would lose at least $17 billion between April 2021 and March 2022 due of the prolonged decline in commercial aviation traffic resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those losses are in addition to the $23 billion U.S. airports reportedly lost between March 2020 and March 2021, the group added.