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News Release    

August 14, 2003

County Executive Announces Federal Grants to Fund Safety Improvement
 at
Dutchess Airport  

Wappinger... County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced the receipt of two FAA grants to fund safety improvements at the Dutchess County Airport, which represent a commitment to invest over 6 million federal dollars.

“These projects provide critical safety improvements for Dutchess Airport, and represent a significant investment in the infrastructure of this facility, which is a major economic generator for Dutchess County,” stated County Executive William R. Steinhaus.

A recent study by New York State concluded the airport produces $56 million in economic spin-offs for the area. The Steinhaus administration has been aggressive and diligent in pursuing federal funds to support needed infrastructure improvements at the airport. With the help of Congresswoman Sue W. Kelly, the availability of federal funds was made known immediately, allowing the county meet a September 12th FAA deadline for receiving the funds. “If it were not for the efforts of Representative Kelly, Dutchess County may have missed a golden opportunity to make important safety improvements this round,” said County Executive Steinhaus.

US Rep. Sue W. Kelly added, "This significant reinvestment by the federal government in Dutchess Airport will improve safety and security, and allow for increased economic development at the Airport. I commend County Executive Steinhaus for his leadership to improve the airport and further boost the Dutchess economy."

The construction will take place in two phases. Phase One will consist of the airport’s main runway overlay, lighting and safety area improvements, to include the installation of an EMAS (Engineered Material Arresting System). The federal grant represents 90% of the $6.7 million cost for this project with 5% being committed by the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). Tri-State Engineering and Planning was recently procured by the county to undertake the project’s design.

Phase Two, a $202,000 project, will replace plastic, breakaway fencing with security fencing at the end of the main runway and design the planned extension of taxiway “C”. This project is also 90% federally funded with 5% being provided by the county and NYSDOT. The design of the taxiway extension, this year, is critical to the receipt of federal funds to construct the extension next year. More importantly, this extension, paid for by federal funds, will provide access to 7.8 acres of airport property, opening it up for new economic development. Federal grants were designed to be allocated over two years for both phases. After further review of Dutchess County’s readiness to begin construction, the federal government alerted county officials last Monday, that the total grant would be awarded this year. The FAA will utilize funds budgeted for other airport facilities not ready to implement infrastructure projects until next year.

The Airport’s main runway was last repaved 30 years ago, and despite the tremendous efforts at maintaining the facility by the Aviation Division, it needs to be resurfaced and have the lighting replaced. The EMAS installation is a new requirement from the FAA, which arose because of changes to the required safety areas at the end of runways. The new requirements would have required the county either; reroute Route 376 further away from the runway, shorten the runway or install an EMAS. Engineered Material Arresting Systems are designed to stop aircraft that overrun a runway safety area, allowing a reduction in the required safety zone, when appropriate.

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In a related issue, County Executive Steinhaus applauded Associated Aircraft Group (AAG), an industry leading integrated services helicopter company, which recently announced a major investment in its Dutchess County Airport facilities designed to enhance business travel to and investment in the Hudson Valley Region. Steinhaus said, “We actively recruited AAG because it had the potential to grow operations and jobs at our airport. They certainly have met our expectations.”

AAG is investing more than $650,000 in their second hangar at the airport to create 15,000 square feet of new aircraft maintenance and storage facilities and nearly 4,000 square feet of new office space. The facility is adjacent to AAG’s offices and existing hangar at the airport. AAG has nearly 50 full-time employees and an annual payroll exceeding $3 million.

“With support from FAA and private investment from leading companies like AAG, the future of Dutchess County Airport is taking off,” concluded Steinhaus, “Reinvestment in our facility’s critical infrastructure supported by federal grants and a combination of public and private investment in new and existing aviation facilities will ensure Dutchess County that its airport will continue to play an increasingly vital role in our economy.”
 

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