Airport renovations mean 150 jobs

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Apr. 16--The state's airport agency has received $6.2 million in federal stimulus money for repairs and improvements at Quonset State Airport and Newport State Airport, the agency announced Wednesday afternoon.

The Rhode Island Airport Corporation, the state agency that operates T.F. Green Airport, Quonset, Newport and several other state airports, said $3.5 million will go to Quonset and $2.7 million will go to Newport.

Sen. Jack Reed said, "These projects are shovel-ready and will put an estimated 150 Rhode Islanders to work upgrading runways and lighting to make these airports safer and more efficient."

Those 150 jobs include the design work for the projects, which is already under way, as well as construction, which is expected to begin in July and finish by the end of the year.

"The Quonset and Newport airports both play a vital role in the transporting of goods and people, and these funds will be used to make much needed improvements," Governor Carcieri said through a spokeswoman. "Infrastructure improvements, such as these and the $137 million in stimulus-funded DOT projects, create good paying jobs and lay a foundation for a stronger economic future for Rhode Island."

The Quonset money will be used to rebuild, mark and light Taxiway A, a paved surface about 2,600 feet long and 75 feet wide. Quonset is home to Rhode Island Air National Guard facilities. The main runway there, at 7,500 feet, is the longest paved runway in the state.

The Newport money will be used to rebuild, mark and light one of the two runways there.

The money will help boost the state's services to general aviation, said Kevin A. Dillon, Airport Corporation president. "The state's general aviation airports play an important role in generating jobs and economic activity for the state, as well as serving corporate, private and military aviation needs."

The $6.2 million for Rhode Island airports is part of $1.1 billion allocated to the Federal Aviation Administration for infrastructure projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. A total of $53 million has been designated for airport projects in New England.

pparker@projo.com

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