Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney (all D-Del.), announced that Sussex County received $3,101,080 for the Sussex County Airport runway extension project from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration. This federal funding, which Delaware's Congressional Delegation supported through the passage of the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act last April, will allow construction to begin on improving the runway approach and extending the runway by 500 feet to accommodate larger aircraft and attract new business to the region.
With the federal funding in place, Sussex County will move ahead with construction in the coming weeks as engineering staff have been making preparations for the project while the grant application was pending, County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said. County officials expect to have a ceremonial groundbreaking for the project in August, with construction slated to begin shortly thereafter. Construction of the 500-foot extension is expected to last through December 2013.
"I am thrilled that the Sussex County Airport runway extension project is moving forward to the construction phase," said Sen. Carper. "This funding will allow larger aircraft to utilize the airport and attract new business opportunities in Sussex County. This project will also allow existing businesses such as PATS Aircraft System to grow. Through projects like this, we can help foster economic growth and airport accessibility for Sussex County and all of Delaware."
"Infrastructure plays such an important role in helping businesses grow and create jobs," Senator Coons said. "Extending the Sussex County Airport runway is a wise investment in Delaware's general aviation sector. The additional 500 feet of runway will allow existing businesses to grow, entrepreneurs to develop new businesses, and for jobs to be created. When I was New Castle County Executive, I witnessed first--hand the importance of working together across all levels of government, and that's exactly what happened here and why this project is taking off."
"This project is an important economic development investment for Sussex County and the entire state," said Congressman Carney. "I've visited businesses, like PATS Aircraft Systems, that have told me they are ready to grow and hire more workers once the runway extension is complete. I'm excited that construction will start shortly, and look forward to the benefits that a larger, more accommodating Sussex County Airport will bring to Delaware."
"Sussex County is grateful to Sen. Carper and the rest of our congressional delegation for their relentless efforts in helping to secure this FAA grant," said Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent. "These critical funds will not only pave the way for the Sussex County Airport runway extension, but the grant and the project itself will pave the way for new economic opportunities here in Sussex County."