The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority received word Friday that the Federal Aviation Administration will award $11,045,537 to the Ogdensburg International Airport for the completion of its airport expansion project.
The word came in a press release from the offices of U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand explained in the release that the Ogdensburg airport applied for the funding through the Airport Improvement Program. The federal funding will allow the airport to complete its airport expansion and begin low-fare airline service with Allegiant Air.
Wade Davis, executive director of the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, said in an interview with the Times that the grant was critical and came at a very opportune time.
On April 8, at a Bridge and Port Authority meeting, a decision was made to accelerate the pace of the project and finish by Sept. 30.
“We are on track, on budget and ahead of schedule,” Mr. Davis said.
In order to complete the project, the terminal, apron and taxiway will be closed from June 27 through Aug. 27. The runway will be closed Aug. 15 through 27.
Despite the closures, “we will be up and running the entire time,” Mr. Davis said.
During the terminal closure, however, the airport will only be open to general aviation. Commercial aviation will be suspended because Transportation Security Administration agents can’t operate without the terminal.
“We are very appreciative to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Representative (Elise) Stefanik for their efforts in this regard,” Mr. Davis said of the grant money. “Without it we would not be able to start air operations in October.”
In 2015, Sen. Schumer and Sen. Gillibrand helped secure the initial $7.5 million in federal funding that allowed the airport to begin its runway extension.
“Just last year we were able to announce that the Ogdensburg Airport received the much-needed first installment of $7.5 million in federal FAA funds to break ground on this critical runway extension. Today, we are starting to see the light at the end of the runway. With this second, $11 million installment, we can finally enable Allegiant Air, which has bigger planes, to land its flights in Ogdensburg and provide a major economic boost to the entire area,” Sen.Schumer said in the press release.
In November 2014, the FAA had approved the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority’s request to extend its runway by 1,200 feet, to accommodate larger planes and begin low-fare airline service with Allegiant Air. In addition to the extension of Runway 27, the expansion includes taxiway widening and extension, runway approach lighting improvements, relocation of a section of Route 68 to accommodate the runway extension, and obstruction removal. The airport also plans to expand the terminal and add a 478-space parking area, which will be funded through non-FAA sources.
The total cost of the project is $25.6 million, according to Mr. Davis. About $18 million comes from FAA grants. The remaining costs will be borne by the port authority, he said.