Delaware Coastal Airport gets more fed funding for operations, runway

U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper, fourth from left, shares information on the federal grants earmarked for the Delaware Coastal Airport. Submitted photo

GEORGETOWN — The Delaware Coastal Airport landed more federal funding to support operations and the effort to extend the main runway.

On the airport tarmac Friday in Georgetown, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., joined airport and Sussex County representatives to announce two Federal Aviation Administration grants awarded to the airport to continue its expansion project.

The county-owned airport is an economic driver to the region. Improvements to its lighting, approaches and continued work to lengthen the runway are just a few projects that will allow the airport keep attracting new business to Sussex County.

The FAA provided the airport with two grant awards: $150,000 for general airport operations and $516,727 to update the airport’s master plan to extend the current 5,500-foot runway to 6,000 feet. This will allow larger planes to land, an issue currently prohibiting business growth to the area.

“Governors, senators, congresswomen — we don’t create jobs. We create a nurturing environment for job creation,” said Sen. Carper. “This airport is a key component of that nurturing environment. Between the flight activities and industrial park tenants, the airport is the centerpiece for thousands of good jobs here in Sussex County, Delaware.”

“For nearly a decade, the FAA has recognized the airport’s significance, too, and invested more than $40 million here,” Sen. Carper said. “The rebranding program and other investments have resulted in expansions and new business to the region, and this next FAA investment will keep the momentum at the airport going. I’m looking forward to seeing the full construction project and runway extension over the finish line.”

The FAA’s and Sussex County’s continued development of the Delaware Coastal Airport has yielded infrastructure improvements and has bolstered job growth,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.

This latest grant, in particular, with funding for the runway extension, has real potential to increase current business and at-tract new companies to Sussex County,” he said. “As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I remain committed to investing in our small and medium-sized airfields such as our Delaware Coastal Airport.”

“Investing in transportation infrastructure is one of the fundamental roles of the federal government. Modernizing and improving infrastructure here in Delaware and across the country helps drive our economy forward,” said U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del. “This investment from the FAA signals another important step in continuing to improve the Delaware Coastal Airport as well as our commitment to strengthening our economy. I’m excited to see the airport continue to build on its exciting growth.”

Michael Vincent, president of the Sussex County Council, offered thanks for the “continued support of the federal government through FAA funding, and for our congressional delegation’s steadfast advocacy, Sussex County is able to take on projects like these that enhance, modernize and help grow business at Delaware Coastal Airport.

“The master plan update, as well as some other improvements including the new taxiway, are critical to ensuring the airport remains a competitive and attractive option for the flying public and business community that depends on this critical transportation and economic linchpin,” Mr. Vincent said.

The airport is a general aviation airport that serves Georgetown and Sussex County and is owned by Sussex County Council.

A former U.S. Navy airfield, it currently serves as a transportation gateway for numerous businesses and corporations around the country.

Over the past decade, the FAA has invested nearly $40 million in the airport for various projects, including extending its runway and installing taxiway lighting as part of ongoing improvements to encourage business growth.

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