The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Aeronautics Division announced plans last week to build or renovate general aviation airport administrative facilities in 15 communities during the next five years.
The 15 general aviation airports were chosen as part of a comprehensive, statewide Airport Administration Building Master Plan that identified projects based upon several factors including public safety needs and the amount of activity at the airport. Each new airport administrative facility will be designed and built according to a flexible prototype design that considers local needs.
“Our airport economic impact study identified nearly $12 billion in economic activity and more than 124,000 jobs traced to aviation in the Commonwealth,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “That extraordinary success requires continued strategic investment to ensure these airports continue to serve as economic drivers and gateways for business and tourism.”
“The Statewide Airport System Plan review found a significant need to improve administration facilities at general aviation airports, with some airports lacking any facilities and many others working in aging buildings in need of repair,” said MassDOT Aeronautics Administrator Christopher Willenborg. “These new or renovated facilities will be state-of-the-art, accessible, environmentally sustainable, and better serve our customers.”
“I cannot express the excitement and appreciation that the Southbridge Airport Commission and I have concerning this project,” said Southbridge Airport Manager Ronald Plouffe. As you know, we were devastated by the tornado back in 2011 and this project will definitely move our plans further than we would have ever expected to imagine. A big thank you to Mr. Willenborg, MassDOT, Senator Moore, and Representative Durant for their continued support for the Town of Southbridge.”
“This strategic investment in Southbridge Municipal Airport will upgrade the facility to make it safer, more sustainable and user friendly,” stated Senator Richard T. Moore. “More importantly, it acknowledges the importance of local airports to economic development, and supports our priority of promoting the Massachusetts business sector and encouraging job growth. Given the damage caused by the recent tornado, I am especially pleased that the state is investing in this important resource.”
“I am very happy to join the Commonwealth in supporting these municipal airports, especially the airport here in Southbridge,” Representative Peter Durant said. “This has always been a strong economic and recreational resource for the community and this support is crucial, especially after the tornado of 2011 wreaked so much havoc on this airport and town.”
The four airport projects currently in design and expected to begin construction in 2015, with estimated costs, include :
· Beverly Municipal Airport, $3.74 million
· Fitchburg Municipal Airport, $3.45 million
· Mansfield Municipal Airport, $3.88 million
· Southbridge Municipal Airport, $1.05 million
Each project is state-funded with a required 5% local match. Project construction is expected to take approximately nine months.
An additional 11 airports are scheduled for construction or renovation in 2016 through 2019. Six airports scheduled for construction of new administrative facilities include Chatham, Gardner, Harriman-and-West in North Adams, Orange, Plymouth, Taunton, and Walter J. Koladza Airport in Great Barrington. Four airports scheduled for renovation of existing facilities include Pittsfield, Lawrence, Marlboro, and Turners Falls in Montague.
In 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) was created to unify the state’s various transportation agencies. MassDOT now includes the Highway Division, the MBTA and Rail Transit Division, the Aeronautics Division, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. MassDOT is committed to providing a safe and reliable transportation system to all those who travel in the Commonwealth and works to deliver excellent customer service. MassDOT has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to transportation, including the Accelerated Bridge Program, the “Where’s My Bus and Train?” apps and “Fast 14” work. For more information, visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot blog: http://blog.mass.gov/transportation/, or follow MassDOT on twitter at https://twitter.com/MassDOT and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.