Watertown Daily Times
August 2, 2018
By: LARRY ROBINSON & ABRAHAM KENMORE
OGDENSBURG — The Ogdensburg International Airport will receive more than $600,000 in federal funding and the Watertown International Airport $152,000 to make infrastructure improvements at the two facilities.
The U.S. Department of Transportation funding is part of some $6,199,493 in federal money earmarked for airports and transportation authorities across the state, according to a joint announcement from U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand on Tuesday.
“(The funding is) so huge,” said Sen. Gillibrand during a phone press conference Tuesday afternoon. “A lot of our airports around the state rely on that funding.”
Sen. Gillibrand pointed out that maintaining airport infrastructure is crucial to the state’s economic development.
Sen. Schumer, in a news release, pointed to the safety improvements the funding would allow.
“With this funding, airports across New York will make critical infrastructure upgrades such as rehabilitation of runways, investments in weather reporting, and improvements to airport access and security,” he was quoted as saying. “This funding will improve the safety and operations for those that fly in and out of upstate New York.”
Other funding announced for airports in the region includes a grant of $900,000 for snow removal for the Plattsburgh International Airport, and $337,500 for the Adirondack Regional Airport in Saranac Lake, according to officials.
The funding was allocated through the Federal Aviation Administration.
In St. Lawrence County, the Ogdensburg airport will receive two separate allocations of funds, including $399,000 to install new weather reporting equipment and $218,500 for improvements to the facility’s runway.
Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade A. Davis said the money will go a long way toward ensuring the long-term viability of the regional airport and its role in bringing economic activity into the north country corridor.
“The authority is very thankful for the tireless advocacy of Senators Schumer, Gillibrand and Congresswoman Stefanik to improve air infrastructure in Northern New York,” Mr. Davis said.
Mr. Davis said the money will be spent on installing an automated weather observing system as well as the installation of a new medium-intensity approach lighting system along the airport runway.
The funding includes $152,000 for the Watertown International Airport for design work on the airport access road.
In July, the Jefferson County Legislature, which operates the Watertown airport, accepted a number of possible FAA grants to design a new building to house the airport’s aircraft-rescue firefighting equipment, including the two specialty firetrucks and renovations of one runway, as well as grants to purchase new snow removal equipment.
Airport Manager Grant W. Sussey said on Tuesday that more FAA grants may be announced before the end of the year.