In 1934, the City of Nashua, NH, acquired 90 acres of land and developed it into the Nashua Municipal Airport. They didn't do it alone; the federal government provided assistance through the Civil Works Administration, part of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. And from 1934 to 1939, the federal government continued to provide assistance as Nashua Municipal Airport developed its facilities into New Hampshire's second largest airport.
Last Friday, Nashua once again demonstrated its commitment to airport development, and once again the federal government was there to support the airport's efforts, this time through the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program. The AIP provides $3.35 billion in funding each year for projects that are vital to maintaining the safety, capacity, and environmental stewardship of our nation's airports.
Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta joined Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau and U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to dedicate the newly improved Runway 14/32.
The FAA-funded project relocated the runway 300 feet to the north, allowing for adequate separation between the runway and a nearby taxiway. It also extended the runway by 500 feet to accommodate larger aircraft that now use the airport. The upgraded runway meets FAA design standards and has runway safety areas on both ends.
“This project will provide critical safety improvements for an airport that serves as a reliever for Boston’s Logan Airport,” said Acting Administrator Huerta.
In addition to enhanced safety, the longer runway makes Nashua more competitive for use by a broader mix of aircraft. That means more economic activity for the airport and the City of Nashua. As Kenneth McLaughlin, owner of a company that provides hangars and flight service, said, “This can’t be anything but positive. We’re going to be in the pipeline now.”
In Danville, VA, for example, a $10 million AIP grant will help rehabilitate the Danville Regional Airport's Runway 2/20 and add safety features like runway markings and signage, edge lighting, grooved pavement, and safety areas. In Cincinnati, a $17.6 million grant will upgrade a runway and taxiway at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, which is ranked 11th nationwide in 2011 for cargo. And in Boise, ID, I had the pleasure of announcing a $6.8 million dollar grant to rehabilitate the primary runway at Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field.
Those are just a few of the AIP grants announced in the last month, and there are more to come. In fact, by September 30, the FAA expects to have awarded its nearly 2,500th AIP grant since just February of this year.
As Acting Administrator Huerta said in Nashua, “Aviation is worth $1.3 trillion to this country. So we invest in safety and economic competitiveness for the long term.”
That's what President Obama had in mind when he called on us to create an America that's "built to last." And that's exactly what we're doing. Creating jobs today, positioning our nation's airports for growth tomorrow.