06.22.08

WITH AGING TAXIWAY AT GREATER BINGHAMTON REGIONAL AIRPORT IN NEED OF CRITICAL REPAIRS, SCHUMER URGES FAA TO FULLY FUND CRUCIAL REHABILTATION PROPOSAL

Airport Submitted Request to FAA Last Year for Funds to Support Vital Rehab to 20-year-old Taxiway; BGM Has Committed Enormous Local Match Towards ProjectFAA Has Indicated they Will Only Supply Partial Funding for the ProjectA Tiny Sliver of What's Needed Leaving Upgrades StalledSchumer Urges FAA to Fully Fund Rehabilitation to Ensure Southern Tier Travelers Have Access

With the aging taxiway at the Greater Binghamton Regional Airport (BGM) in need of critical upgrades and  hampering the ability to attract new carriers, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fully fund the airport's request for federal dollars to support crucial rehabilitation and repairs. The airport applied for FAA funds in May of last year to help begin the project, pledging to contribute a generous and unprecedented $460,526 local match towards the total costs, which are estimated at nearly $8 million. However, FAA has indicated they will only partially fund the project-providing only a tiny sliver of what's needed-leaving BGM stalled as it tries to make vital safety upgrades.
 
Today, in a personal letter to FAA Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell, Schumer urged the FAA to fund the project fully, allowing BGM to move forward with the muchneeded taxiway upgrades.
 
"The FAA must step up and provide the sorely needed federal dollars to keep Southern Tier travelers both safe and on time, and to permit Binghamton Airport to attract new, consumerfriendly carriers to the region," said Senator Schumer. "Travelers attempting to navigate today's airline industry face enough problems as it is-the FAA should be doing everything it can to ensure vital regional airports like BGM can continue to thrive and provide essential service to their residents. The airport has been proactive and generous in their efforts to jumpstart the project, and now it's time for the FAA to do its part." 
 
Despite being diligently maintained over the past twenty years, the current taxiway at BGM has reached the end of its useful life. Its present condition has extensive pavement cracks, surface deterioration and drainage problems. Last year, in an effort to begin reconstruction, BGM applied for nearly $8 million from the FAA to fund the vital project. However, the FAA has so far indicated they will only supply $700,000 of the total costs, leaving the airport stalled in its rehabilitation efforts.
 
The Greater Binghamton Regional Airport management has also diligently worked to acquire a generous local match of $460,526 towards this project estimated at $8,564,807, an amount that far exceeds the customary 2.5% share required.
 
Today, in an effort to jumpstart the muchneeded repairs, Schumer called on the FAA to fully fund the project submitted by BGM, noting that these upgrades are crucial for both safety and efficiency at the airport.
 
Reconstruction of this taxiway will offer direct access to both ends of the runway which are utilized by 70 percent of the Greater Binghamton Airport's aircraft traffic, the Senator wrote, as well as serve to greatly enhance vital operational and safety conditions. The proposal submitted by BGM would enable airport personnel to implement Enhanced Taxiway Center Markings, improved signage, and more efficient lighting equipment. This project will make a full parallel taxiway available to departing and inbound aircraft traffic, replacing an often confusing and potentially dangerous partial parallel taxiway system currently in place. As a result the chance of potential runway incursion incidents resulting from pilot confusion will be decreased.
 
"As you know, today's airline industry is operating in a unique and challenging economic environment," wrote Schumer. "The airport's ability to implement this much needed improvement program will ensure its ability to maintain safe aircraft operating conditions without requiring the already overtaxed industry to shoulder the burden of cost. It is crucial this airport remain able to offer reasonable operating rates and maintain financial viability going forward."
 
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