Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hopkins Airport gets $8 million federal grant for snow removal

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Aviation Administration will give Cleveland Hopkins International Airport an $8 million grant to prevent the recurrence of runway deicing problems that resulted in unsafe winter conditions at the airport, according to Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

Kaptur said the grant is on top of more than $22 million that the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Hopkins in July to improve the airport's snow removal fleet and reconfigure its taxiways to improve sightlines for pilots and airfield crews.

The newly announced funds will be used to construct a 124,200-square-foot building to house snow removal equipment bought with the grant money announced in July.

"These funds will give Cleveland Hopkins additional resources to prepare for snow conditions for the foreseeable future," said a statement from Kaptur, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. "The new construction will extend the lifespan of the new and replacement snow removal equipment recently purchased with other funds.  It's very timely, given the importance of Cleveland Hopkins to the economy, creating jobs, and the quality of life of the entire northcoast Ohio region."

Earlier this year, Cleveland agreed to pay the FAA a $200,000 fine to settle four cases that cited the city for poor airport snow removal. The agency said the city failed to adequately staff snow removal teams and deice runways, causing slippery conditions that forced planes to divert to other airports. 

Press spokesmen for the FAA were not able to immediately supply more information the grants.

Hopkins Airport Interim Director Fred Szabo said the building to be constructed with the $8 million grant will accommodate the airport's vehicular maintenance mechanics, as well as new snow removal equipment. The new plows will cut the time it takes to clear runways in half, said Szabo, and the grants are part of a multi-year program to  replace older, less efficient snow removal vehicles."Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has always been a safe and secure airport and these grants will result in additional airfield safety improvements that will benefit our passengers," said a statement from Szabo.

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