AOPA President Craig Fuller joined aviation leaders July 23 to mark $1.8 million in new state funding for general aviation airports in New Jersey, including a grant for an airport that was rescued when AOPA members banded together and bought it.
Fuller joined New Jersey Transportation Commissioner James Simpson, a pilot, aircraft owner, and AOPA member, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President 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 July 23: $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 FAA 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 the state’s GA 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 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 by general aviation pilots volunteering their time and aircraft from states as far as Massachusetts and North Carolina.