Contact: Steve Hedges
Frederick, MD – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) President and CEO Craig Fuller joined aviation leaders Tuesday to mark $1.8 million in new state funding for general aviation airports in New Jersey, including grants for an airport that was rescued when AOPA members banded together and bought it.
Fuller joined New Jersey Transportation Commission James Simpson, a pilot, aircraft owner and AOPA member, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pete Bunce and New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Michele Brown at Lincoln Park Airport to announce the grants.
"General Aviation is a vital economic engine that supports more than 18,000 well-paying jobs in New Jersey and contributes $1.7 billion to the state's economy each year," Fuller said. "New Jersey has a dynamic general aviation community and I am excited to have the opportunity to meet with fellow pilots and aviation enthusiasts to talk about the issues that affect our freedom to fly."
Lincoln Park Airport received two grants Tuesday: $570,000 for a hangar taxi land project and $246,000 for safety improvements at the airport’s fuel farm. Lincoln Park Airport is a privately-owned airport that supports 29,000 general aviation operations annually.
Another New Jersey airport, Sky Manor in Pittstown, was purchased by AOPA members in November 2008. It received a grant of $684,000 for taxiway and apron refurbishment.
In all, six grants were announced as part of New Jersey’s Fiscal Year 2013 Airport Improvement Program. Other airports receiving funds included Eagles Nest Airport in Eagleswood Township; Lakewood Airport in Lakewood (Ocean County); Essex County Airport in Fairfield.
The Federal Aviation Administration is providing $112,000 in funds and the airport owners are contributing $113,000 toward the cost of the projects, in addition to the $1.8 million from NJDOT.
New Jersey has invested more than $12.5 million in New Jersey’s general aviation airports in the past three years, according to the office of Gov. Chris Christie, leveraging an additional $33 million in federal grants for a total of $47 million in airport improvements.
“Our public-use airports play a vital role in New Jersey’s complex and diverse transportation network,” said DOT Commissioner Simpson. “In addition to being a key component of the state’s multimodal transportation infrastructure, New Jersey’s general aviation airports proved to be a critical resource for responding to Superstorm Sandy.”
Tens of thousands of pounds of relief supplies, including food, water, clothing, blankets, and medical supplies, were flown into New Jersey in late 2012 by general aviation pilots volunteering their time and aircraft from states as far as Massachusetts and North Carolina.
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. With a membership base of nearly 400,000, AOPA is the largest aviation association in the world. With representatives based in Frederick, M.D., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit www.aopa.org.
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