Federal Grant to Fund Safety Improvements at Teterboro Airport

TETERBORO, N.J. (AP) -- A $500,000 federal grant will be used to make safety improvements to an airport runway where last month a corporate jet skidded off and slammed into a warehouse.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved the funds to begin engineering work for installation of safety barriers at the end of the runway, which ends 300 feet from Route 46.

''This runway improvement will make Teterboro Airport safer for the surrounding community, commuters on Route 46 and passengers at the airport itself,'' Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., said in announcing the grant.

The cause of the Feb. 2 crash of the plane carrying eight passengers and three crew members is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. No one was killed, but 20 people were injured.

The FAA has required that protective measures be taken by 2007 to prevent future accidents. The runway currently does not meet FAA standards, lacking a 1,000-foot buffer between it and roads, buildings and other hazards.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has looked at installing arrestor beds or shifting the runway to the south to create a larger buffer.

A driver injured when his car was hit by a plane that shot off a runway at Teterboro Airport is seeking $12.5 million in damages from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, arguing that safety barriers at the end of the runway could have stopped the out-of-control corporate jet.

''If it took this accident to compel people to make the decision to put up this money, then there has been some positive fallout from the accident itself,'' said Edward Milstein, a lawyer representing Rohan Foster, the driver who was injured in the crash.

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Information from: The Record of Bergen County, http://www.northjersey.com

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