MORRISVILLE — Vermont’s small airports are benefiting from the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration because the federal government is funding some projects that were designed, had permits in place and contractors chosen.
“It’s actually very good for Vermont because we had a lot of shovel-ready projects,” said Guy Rouelle, aeronautics administrator at the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
That means the Morrisville Stowe Airport will get $3.85 million to resurface the runway for the first time since 1978 and the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport will get two grants totaling $4.5 million to expand safety areas and do other projects.
The Rutland airport has three commercial flights a day in addition to charter flights and general aviation.
“This safety expansion project hopefully will attract more private jet traffic to the area,” Christopher Beitzel, Rutland airport manager said.
Rouelle said that in most years Vermont’s nine state-owned airports receive about $210,000 each from two federal programs.
Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Transportation changed its rules for distributing discretionary funding. Officials went looking for projects that were ready to go so they could get the money out the door fast.
At the Morrisville-Stowe airport, the pavement is cracked and bumpy.
“This project absolutely needs to happen and the state has done the legwork to make it happen,” said David Whitcomb, the owner of the company that is the fixed base operator at the Morrisville airport.
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