U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, Sen. Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney have announced that Sussex County received $4,297,047 for the final phase of the Sussex County Airport runway extension project from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration. Construction began in 2012 on this project, which will improve the runway approach and extend the runway by 500 feet to accommodate larger aircraft and attract new business to the region.
This grant award is for the last phase of a four-phase project that includes the 500-foot runway extension, the relocation of airport thresholds to meet design standards, the installation of an approach lighting system, and the establishment of new non-precision instrument approach procedures. This project also aims to rehabilitate the existing runway pavement.
"I've long supported this project because of the economic impact it will have on Sussex County and all of Delaware," said Carper. "This funding will allow larger aircraft to utilize the airport and attract new business opportunities in Sussex County. This project will also allow existing businesses such as PATS Aircraft System to grow. Through projects like this, we can help foster economic growth and airport accessibility for Sussex County and all of Delaware."
"Infrastructure plays an important role in helping businesses grow and create jobs," Coons said. "Extending the main runway at Sussex County Airport is a smart investment in the region's growth, helping businesses to grow, entrepreneurs to develop new businesses, and jobs to be created. I'm excited to see the extended runway completed and for Delawareans to be able to take full advantage."
"Sussex County has tremendous opportunities for economic growth. It's critical that Delaware has the infrastructure in place to meet that need," said Carney. "This grant to help extend the runway at Sussex County Airport will help existing businesses, like PATS Aircraft, succeed and grow, and incentivize new companies to set up shop in Delaware. I'm excited for the project and look forward to the construction phase."
So far, the overall $25 million project has earned nearly $9 million in federal funding, with the county and state also contributing funds in varying amounts.
"Sussex County is extremely excited to receive this grant, which will allow our runway extension project to continue moving forward and get us closer to realizing the second 500-foot construction phase," Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent said. "All in all, this is fantastic news for our economy, for our residents, and for all of Sussex County."
"The Delaware delegation has been very proactive in helping to secure this funding from day one, knowing all along the importance of the airport and the impact it has on the local and regional economies," said Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson, noting the airport complex's 16 employers and nearly 900 employees. "We're very thankful to have Senators Carper and Coons and Congressman Carney in Sussex County's corner. This latest project, along with the initial 500-foot extension, is yet another example of the county improving its infrastructure at the airport so we can retain our current clients and attract new customers in the future."