On Friday, it was a pleasure to announce a $18.8 million project funded by the Recovery Act to build and equip a new air traffic control tower and radar control facility at Pennsylvania's Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport. $13.3 million of that will jump-start construction of the control tower in December, creating roughly 140 jobs.
The new facility will:
- Improve safety by improving the line-of-site for air traffic controllers;
- Be more cost-efficient thanks to new energy-efficient materials that cut down on heating and ventilation costs; and
- Reduce administrative costs.
And it's not just about the new construction jobs. It's also about the safety of over 250,000 flights a year that the radar facility handles. And it's about the community holding onto other jobs as well. The area was in danger of losing FAA employees as well and had been trying for several years to find the funding for this project. As Phil Gallagher, president of the local air traffic controllers union, noted:
"This is reassurance the FAA has a commitment to this facility. It allows us to fulfill our mission of maintaining safety and efficiency in our skies."
Finally, this project could not have moved from wish-list to reality without the hard work of Governor Rendell, Congressman Kanjorski, Senators Specter and Casey. These elected officials really provide the leadership the Keystone State needs.
This is a win-win for northeastern Pennsylvania, the flying public, and the families and communities of those hired to do this important work. This is adding jobs and renewing essential infrastructure. This is recovery.