HAMBERSBURG >> A new grant of $150,000 for Chambersburg’s Franklin County Regional Airport was announced Tuesday by U.S. Sen. Robert Casey.
The award, through the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration, augments $700,000 awarded last year, according to Marshall Stevens, deputy executive director of the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority, owner of the Chambersburg facility.
Stevens said the $700,000 grant from 2014 was used to award contracts for work expected to start this summer to construct a taxiway — a turnaround or staging area — at the northeast end of the runway. He said there is already a taxiway at the southwest end of the strip.
This year’s $150,000 grant is for the design of a connector between two ends of the runway. The ultimate goal is to provide taxiways at each end of the strip and a lane running parallel to the runway so aircraft can access either end without entering the runway.
In addition to the Chambersburg airport, SARAA owns Harrisburg International Airport, Gettysburg Regional Airport and Capitol City Airport on the West Shore of Harrisburg.
Stevens said the Franklin County Regional Airport is used by business and recreational fliers traveling on small privately-owned aircraft. The airport is also home to the Chambersburg Skydiving Center.
Casey said the airport is a crucial facility.
“The Franklin County Regional Airport is important to the region’s transportation infrastructure,” he said. “These funds will allow the airport to upgrade safety and improve the efficiency of its operations.”
Casey’s position is comforting to SARAA executives.
SARAA Director Timothy Edwards said last year, “We appreciate the commitment from the Federal Aviation Administration. It’s very promising for the future. It’s a small airport .The FAA recognizes that it serves a need. As we continue to invest, we’ll see more and more activity down the road.”
Stevens said the airport authority will apply for further funding next year.
“More funds will be needed for construction of the design we do,” he said. “We’ll be looking to the airport improvement program again.”