State grants totaling $4 million are headed to 18 airports across Pennsylvania to upgrade facilities and improve safety. The awards range from $3,000 for the Butler County Airport to $750,000 for Pittsburgh International Airport. The money comes from the state's jet fuel tax. Each recipient must match 25% of the money granted.
In the announcement, Governor Tom Corbett noted that aviation provides nearly 5% of the state's jobs. "Investing in these improvements and safety measures helps those thousands of people do their jobs better, and will improve airport operations," said Corbett.
The money for Pittsburgh International will be used to repair runways and taxiways. "What's important about rehabbing of joint and crack sealing a runway is that it will prolong the useful life of a runway, adding extra years to it," said Airport Authority spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny. "So you don't have to undergo the more costly tearing out all the concrete and replacing it again." According to Jenny, the repairs were already on the airport's construction schedule. The Authority budgeted the $250,000 match in anticipation of receiving the state grant. She says the work will begin in the spring.
The Authority also received a $75,000 grant for the Allegheny County Airport. "They're going to be re-designing the power and lighting infrastructure for the (terminal and safety) building and the parking lots," said Jenny. "Currently that's a much older facility over there. The power and lighting facilities for the parking lot and our safety building are growing old and need to be replaced."
This grant is only for the design and she says that work will begin as soon as they receive the check.