Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) Thursday announced two federal grants totaling more than $8.3 million to make critical improvements to Newport's Airport as it expands to accommodate a continued increase of economic growth in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.
Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: "These grants are an investment in the economic growth of the Northeast Kingdom. By making these improvements to the Newport State Airport, we are facilitating the growing tourism industry, bringing new business and encouraging job growth in the region that is filled with promise."
The grants, awarded by the Department of Transportation to the State of Vermont, will construct a taxiway and extend the runway to accommodate more and larger planes that will bring people for business, tourist and recreation opportunities throughout the region. The grants will also be used to construct a building to house the snow plows and equipment. The DOT made awards of $7.6 million for the taxiway and extended runway and $729,000 to construct the snow removal equipment building.
Governor Peter Shumlin (D) said: "The Northeast Kingdom has a lot to offer, and these funds will help drive more people to a truly beautiful part of Vermont. I want to thank Vermont's Congressional Delegation for working hard to secure these funds to continue the strong economic development we've seen in the Northeast Kingdom."
The grants follow an additional $8.8 million awarded last year by the Federal Aviation Administration to help with the airport's expansion. These investments in Vermont's state airports, as well as the Burlington International Airport, are critical to their ability to continue to serve as vital transportation links and grow the economy in otherwise hard to reach areas of the state.