County Airports Awarded More Than $1 Million For Upgrades

Chautauqua County’s airports are receiving over $1.2 million in federal funds for infrastructure upgrades.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Wednesday the securing of just over $17 million for projects at upstate airports. The Chautauqua County-Dunkirk Airport received $437,310 while the Chautauqua County-Jamestown Airport obtained $816,269.

Funding is allocated through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program. Grants are provided to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.

“Making sure our airports are clear for takeoff is essential for the safety of air travelers and the smooth functioning of the local economy,” Schumer said. “Making these critical upgrades will pave the way for supporting local economies and communities in upstate New York. I will keep fighting to bring meaningful investment to modernize New York state’s airports which enhance overall quality and safety for the passengers and pilots that fly in and out of the state every day.”

Close to $600,000 will go to support taxiway rehabilitation at the Jamestown Airport. The remaining funds will be utilized to conduct a study to look at glide path and obstruction areas around the airport.

Through funding for the Dunkirk Airport, an obstruction assessment study will take place along with major crack repair and seal coating. County Executive Vince Horrigan told The Post-Journal he’s thankful for funding through the help of Schumer, Gillibrand and all federal representatives.

Horrigan said the airports are major assets. Like any important asset, they need to be maintained, he said.

“We have to continually keep the airports in proper condition not only per FAA guidelines but for safety for our aircraft that come in and out,” Horrigan said.

“It’s another good example of federal government support for the county.”

Horrigan said the county will be required to provide a small local share for the projects receiving federal grants.

George Spanos, county Public Facilities director, said he appreciates the senators’ efforts to secure funding for the airports. He said the projects at the Jamestown Airport require a 2.5 percent local share while those at the Dunkirk Airport require a 5 percent local share.

The County Legislature will need to accept the federal grants before projects are sent out to bid.

Funds obligated from the Airport Improvement Program are pulled from the Airport and Airway Trust fund. User fees and fuel taxes are among the sources that support the program.

“Investing in our airport infrastructure enables safer, more efficient service for the businesses and travelers and the smooth functioning of the local economy,” Gillibrand said. “These funds are a major investment that will provide several airports across upstate New York with the resources to renovate and upgrade their facilities. I will continue to push for resources that enhance efficiency and public safety at airports across New York.