Five regional airports get state funds to upgrade
August 22, 2013
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  • Allegheny County Airport is one of 19 aviation facilities across the state that will share $2.1 million in state grants designed to improve safety and operations. The county airport in West Mifflin will receive $397,500 to buy maintenance equipment and to rehabilitate the terminal building.

    The state funds will pay for most of the costs for the $579,000 project. The rest of the money will come from the county airport authority’s capital budget, spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said. The funds will be used to modernize heating and ventilation systems in the terminal and replace several large pieces of equipment. They include a mower, crack sealer and dump truck with spreader and plow.

    Other grants are going to the Butler County Airport, the Butler Farm Show Airport, Washington County’s Finleyville Airport and Westmoreland County’s Rostraver Airport.

    The money comes from PennDOT’s aviation development program, which is funded from the state’s tax on jet fuel.

    The grants were approved by the State Transportation Commission. The 15-member commission includes Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch, 10 people appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett and the majority and minority chairs of the state Senate and House transportation committees.

    The state grants will be partially matched by $647,100 in local funds.

    Butler County Airport, in Penn Township, will receive $150,000 to construct an above-ground fuel-dispensing facility. The county airport will provide $50,000 toward the project, airport manager Ivan Longdon said.

    Operators of the Butler Farm Show Airport in Connoquenessing Township will get $45,000 to remove obstructions within a runway approach area.

    Finleyville Airport in Union will get $165,000 to prepare a site for new hangars and to buy land to remove obstructions to its runway approach area. As is the case with the other projects, Finleyville Airport will put up a 25 percent match for its projects. Elements include construction of up to three, two-plane hangars, extension of a taxiway and acquisition of additional land at the end of the airport runway.

    Finleyville is a privately owned, public-use general aviation airport. “It would be awful hard to do these projects without state help,” airport manager James Kirk said.

    Rostraver Airport will get $30,000 to purchase airfield maintenance equipment.

    “Airports contribute to our communities’ economies and create thousands of jobs for Pennsylvanians,” Mr. Corbett said in a statement. “This state support will help the airports continue operating safely and ensure that they can continue to meet business demands.”

    Authorized by the General Assembly, the grants are administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Aviation. The state has 133 public-use airports and heliports.