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Schumer, Gillibrand announce grants for airports in Potsdam and Massena

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MASSENA - Airports in Massena and Potsdam were the recipients of more than $1 million in grants on Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, in a joint release, said Massena’s airport will receive $925,250, with Potsdam’s airport receiving $252,00.

Massena Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said the grant was anticipated, but nevertheless appreciated.

“We applied for and were confident we would get this funding,” Mr. Gray said following Wednesday night’s town board meeting, adding the grant comes with a 2.5 percent local share.

Massena will use the money to build a taxi lane to ensure access to the T-hangar and adjacent taxi lanes, which will create safer and more efficient airport operations. Money will also be used to clear obstructions in the area to create more navigable airspace and design an access road to create easier travel to and from the airport.

“We couldn’t do this kind of work without these grants,” Mr. Gray said. “They are a huge benefit, and we’re very appreciative.”

Mr. Gray elaborated on those comments through a statement included in the release.

“Operating an airport in an expensive proposition for a small rural town, so this federal money ensures that we can keep our facility in top notch condition. Massena Airport is an essential business tool for our community and the entire region that uses it every day,” he said.

Potsdam will use its grant to replace faulty fences, which will ensure both aircraft safety and overall airport security by stopping unauthorized entry and wildlife hazards. The money will also be used to repair the pavement along the airport’s taxi lane.”

Potsdam Mayor Steven Yurgartis said the village was thankful for the grant.

“The village of Potsdam very much appreciates the senators’ help in securing this funding. Our airport is a key part of our economic development strategy”, he said.

In statements included in the release, Sen. Schumer and Sen. Gillebrand said they feel like this is money well spent.

“I am pleased to add this federal investment to the list of ‘arrivals’ at these north country airports,” Sen. Schumer said. “We should always strive to achieve the highest standards of aviation safety, and this funding will support that goal by repairing and upgrading the infrastructure at Massena International-Richards Field and Potsdam Municipal-Damon Field.”

Sen. Gillibrand agreed.

“These are important investments for the north country’s airports,” she said. “These federal dollars will help support infrastructure upgrades to improve our airports and provide better, safer service for New Yorkers.”

The funding for Massena International-Richards Field and Potsdam Municipal–Damon Field is a part of the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and is administered by DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Airport Improvement Program provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Funds obligated for the AIP are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources.

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