Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ebensburg Airport (9G8) may turn down state grant because it ‘probably can’t’ match funds

Johnstown’s airport will get some much-needed cash for airfield work, but the organization managing Ebensburg Airport will have to turn down $200,000 approved for work there.

“That grant requires a 50 percent local match,” said James Loncella, treasurer of Regional Aviation, Conservation and Recreation Association.

“We probably can’t come up with the funds to do that.”

Ebensburg Airport’s $200,000 for hangar work and John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport’s $150,000 for pavement work were among state grants totaling $3.4 million to improve safety and operations at 20 airports.

“Aviation, just as Pennsylvania’s other transportation assets, supports jobs and strengthens our state economy,” Gov. Tom Corbett said announcing the grants.

“These investments position these airports to offer better service and generate additional business activity.”

The state funding for PennDOT’s aviation development program comes from the state’s jet fuel tax.

Work at the Johnstown airport will address pavement rehabilitation in areas surrounding runways, airport authority Chairman Richard Weaver said. The runway pavement  was replaced and upgraded in 2008 through a $14.5 million federally funded project.

“Our runways are in good shape,” Weaver said, predicting the Johnstown airport would have enough local funding to leverage the full state grant.

Ebensburg’s RACRA board members had hoped to upgrade hangars and possibly add new hangars to meet a strong demand, Loncella said.

“There is actually a waiting list for hangars at Ebensburg Airport,” Loncella said.

Hangar rent is the main source of income for maintaining and making improvements at the Ebensburg airfield, located along Route 22 just east of Route 219.

Ebensburg Borough owns the airport, but turned operations over to RACRA a few years ago. Loncella said the association will discuss options with borough leaders before deciding on the grant.

- Source:  http://www.tribdem.com

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