Cumberland Times-News

September 13, 2013

Cumberland airport gets $2.3 million FAA grant

Funds will go toward runway rehabilitation

Elaine Blaisdell
Cumberland Times-News

— WILEY FORD, W.Va. — The Potomac Highlands Airport Authority has been awarded a $2.3 million Federal Aviation Administration grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for runway rehabilitation at the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport, according to U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski.

“I’m tickled to death about the grant,” said Creade Brodie Jr., chair of the authority. “It’s a crucial grant because all the funding got held up during the sequestration. It’s a good chance the rest of it will come through.”

This federal grant will fund the relocation of runway thresholds, acquisition of six new parcels of land and the removal of dangerous runway obstructions at the airport. This is the largest grant the authority has received thus far and will also help jump-start the engineering phase of the runway rehabilitation project, which will likely begin in the next six months, said Brodie.

“Airports in Western Maryland keep our economy moving forward in the right direction. We need to do all we can to maintain safety, and to improve efficiency so they can better serve the neighboring communities,” said Cardin in a news release. “I am proud that we can deliver federal grants to enhance flight operations in Western Maryland and the region.”

The rehabilitation project in its entirety will cost $59 million, much of which will come from the FAA, and has a target completion date of 2017. The rehabilitation of the runway is needed for safety reasons and once complete the runway will be larger and will include a runway safety zone, according to Brodie.

Despite its location, the FAA lists it as a Maryland airport, according to the news release.

“Once that project is completed you are not going to have any problem getting tenants to this airport,” said Mona Ridder, executive director of the Mineral County Development Authority, previously to the authority.

The Garrett County airport will also receive a $112,387 FAA grant from the DOT to update the Airport Master Plan and to address key issues that will lead to improved operations at the airport, according to the news release.

“Our regional airports play a key role in maintaining Maryland’s robust economy,” said Mikulski, who is chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds DOT. “These funds in the federal checkbook for runway expansion will help our regional airports in Western Maryland operate safely and efficiently while keeping Marylanders on the go.”

The Garrett County airport is owned by the county.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.