The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced that over the last two months the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation has secured more than $1.8 million in federal funding for Worcester Regional Airport. The funds will be used to support new security measures and reconstruct the general aviation areas of the airfield.
"These funds are a critical component of our efforts to make Worcester Regional a safe, convenient, and economically competitive airport," Senator Kennedy said. "I am very pleased that the federal government has recognized our work on behalf of the airport and the economic development of Central Massachusetts."
"Worcester Regional Airport is a critical force in the economy of Worcester and Central Massachusetts," stated Senator John Kerry. "This is an important step in the federal government's effort to maximize the security for those who use Worcester Regional. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that all of our airports are made as safe as possible."
"I will continue to fight for the federal funding Worcester Airport needs to remain a first--class, safe facility," Rep. McGovern said. "The Airport is an important part of the economic growth of our region, and I'm pleased that these resources are being provided."
More than $800,000 in security funds is targeted for a project that will begin this fall and be completed in 2003. It includes upgrades to the emergency power system, replacing gates to secure areas of the airfield and a new building surveillance system.
The improvements to the general aviation facilities at the airport will begin this spring and will include the replacement of aircraft tie-downs, improved communications systems, surface improvements, new drainage systems and pavement painting. These changes are critical to positioning Worcester for growth in general aviation traffic. The total project cost is $1.4 million with the federal government providing 90% of the funding and the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission funding 10%.
City Manager Thomas R. Hoover indicated that these grants will greatly enhance security at Worcester and he is especially pleased with the grant for the general aviation ramp. "A great deal of the focus at the airport in the coming years will be to generate new corporate and general aviation activity. This grant should serve as a catalyst to jump start those efforts."
Massport has worked closely with the Massachusetts delegation and city officials to revitalize the underused airport since taking over operation of the facility in January 2000. Massport is committed to providing the latest security technology and procedures at Worcester. Massport has committed to funding the improvements necessary to support federal baggage screening initiatives. The security checkpoint at Worcester is already staffed by federal employees and Massport fully expects the airport to meet the December 31 federal baggage screening deadline.