After discussions with key officials from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), members of Rhode Island's Congressional delegation, Governor Lincoln Chafee, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, and Peter Frazier, Interim President & CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC), today announced that over the next five years the FAA plans to invest approximately $110 million in upgrading T.F. Green Airport. This includes $50 million for the runway extension, $30 million for runway safety, and an estimated $30 million for noise mitigation.
"Modernizing T.F. Green and expanding the runway will help attract new business and jobs to Rhode Island. This is a significant investment in boosting economic growth throughout the state and improving the quality of our nation's aviation system as a whole. I am pleased the FAA and Obama Administration recognize the need for robust federal support for this project. Overall, the FAA has presented a plan to provide more than 60% of the funding for the airport's runway extension and 75% of the runway safety project, as well as additional funding for noise mitigation," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee.
"As a former City Councilman and Mayor of Warwick, I understand the importance of T.F. Green to the city's economy and the economy of Rhode Island as a whole," said Governor Lincoln Chafee. "I was proud to work during my time in the Senate to secure federal funding for important Rhode Island transportation projects, including the InterLink. As Governor, I have been consistent in my belief that building on our assets and investing in infrastructure are among the most effective ways to grow our economy. Today, we are announcing a financing plan that will improve Rhode Island's transportation infrastructure, the quality and efficiency of our airport, and the quality of life of our citizens. I applaud Senator Reed for his work helping to bring these funds to Rhode Island and I appreciate the Obama Administration's continued support for important, job-creating initiatives in our state."
"Improving Rhode Island's transportation infrastructure is essential to our state's economy. This FAA financing will help T.F. Green airport offer Rhode Islanders and those traveling into the state increased air travel options, ultimately supporting our state's tourism industry and overall economic growth," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
"We can only give our business community the best chance to prosper in a 21st century economy if we recognize the importance of having a 21st century transportation system to support them," said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin. "The funding announced today is major step toward opening up more opportunities for growth in our state."
"This major investment in the infrastructure at T.F. Green Airport will significantly bolster Rhode Island's economy by bringing much needed jobs to our state while enhancing the travel experience of Rhode Islanders and those visiting our state on business or pleasure. The investment T.F. Green Airport is truly an investment in Rhode Island's future," said U.S. Representative David Cicilline.
"After more than 12 years of discussion about expansion possibilities at T.F. Green Airport, it is exciting finally to be at this point," said Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian. "Although this has been a very long process, I think the plan that was ultimately approved for the airport is one that takes into consideration the many, varied concerns of our community. I am certainly grateful to the City Council and to those city employees who invested thousands of hours of work over more than a decade to ensure that the City's concerns were heard."
"RIAC is elated that the FAA has recognized the critical role that T. F. Green plays in the national and regional system of airports and the service and capacity benefits these airport improvement projects will yield. We would like to thank Senator Reed and our entire congressional delegation for helping to emphasize our role in the airport system and securing sufficient funding to ensure these vital programs will proceed," said Peter Frazier, Interim President & CEO of RIAC.
T.F. Green's runway expansion has been studied for more than a decade. Last September, the FAA approved plans to extend T.F. Green's main runway and make safety improvements to the airport's crosswind runway. This summer, local and state officials approved plans to move the improvement project forward after Congress passed an FAA bill in February that, for the first time in several years, gives airports nationwide the ability to use federal resources to plan and commit to long-term projects.
T.F. Green Airport handled approximately 4 million passengers last year. The airport has service to 25 non-stop destinations with one stop connections to the world. It is currently served by Air Canada, Cape Air, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines/Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and U.S. Airways.