North Country airports to get nearly $10 million in upgrades

Passengers wait for a 7 am flight to Chicago at the Watertown International Airport. Photo: Joanna Richards

Passengers wait for a 7 am flight to Chicago at the Watertown International Airport. The airport will receive nearly $2 million for runway upgrades. Photo: Joanna Richards

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have just announced the awarding of nearly $10 million in funds to upgrade North Country airports. The funds will be divided between Massena, Malone, Ogdensbug and Watertown, with Massena receiving the largest award, more than $4 million.

The full text of the announcement follows:

FAA Awards to Massena Int’l-Richards Field, Malone-Dufort, Ogdensburg Int’l & Watertown Int’l Airports Will be Used for Safety Equipment and Runway Upgrades

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $4,143,110 in federal funding is being awarded to the Massena International-Richards Field Airport to acquire safety equipment runway upgrades and $508,520 for Malone-Dufort Airport for runway upgrades. The Senators also announced $3,103,654 in federal funding for Ogdensburg International Airport and $1,956,862 for Watertown International Airport for runway upgrades. The funding is allocated through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program.

“This massive federal investment will be a major boost for safety and quality of infrastructure at the Massena, Malone, Ogdensburg and Watertown airports,” said Senator Schumer. “I am pleased that the FAA has made this important investment for runway upgrades and safety equipment at these North Country airports.”

“This is an important investment for these North Country airports,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Improving these airports’ infrastructure can help provide better, safer service for travelers and businesses, keep more flights on time, and help strengthen the North Country’s economy.”

The federal funding for the Massena International-Richards Field Airport will specifically be used to acquire safety equipment and fencing and rehabilitate Runway 9-27 and Runway 5-23 and improve the runway safety area by repaving and putting in shoulders. The federal funding for the Malone-Dufort Airport will specifically be used rehabilitate runway 14-32. The federal funding for the Ogdensburg International Airport will rehabilitate Runway 9-27 and the funding for the Watertown International Airport will be used to rehabilitate Taxiway “B.”

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10 Comments on “North Country airports to get nearly $10 million in upgrades”

  1. The Original Larry says:

    Another colossal waste of money. According to the FAA there were 7,882 passenger enplanements at all four airports combined in 2010. Do the math and while you’re at it, think about where that $10M might be put to better use.

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  2. Ken Hall says:

    A red letter day; when The Original Larry and I see eye to eye. $10000000/7882 = $1268.71 per passenger in 2010 For the sake of argument let us assume that the 2012 passenger enplanements rate was 10,000 which is still an eye popping $1000 per passenger plus the $200-$300 subsidy to the air carriers per passenger seat, filled or not. Hell-of-a-deal. I wonder if $1200 per person would cover the cost of a limousine ride to Syracuse from the farthest corners of the North Country? Silly me I forgot it is the time and convenience factor and why should N.C. residents not have their own little home town air service, especially when someone else is paying the freight.

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  3. The Original Larry says:

    $1200!?! I’ll drive you to Syracuse for half that!

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  4. PNElba says:

    At least the money is being spent in our neck of the woods on infrastructure improvements. How many will complain when we start launching 1.4 million dollar cruise missiles into Syria in a few days/weeks?

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  5. PNElba says:

    Enplanements in 2012 almost 27,000.

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  6. The Original Larry says:

    Yes, an impressive increase lately. How much did we pay to lure airlines to Watertown? How long will they stay if subsidies are cut?

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  7. Pete says:

    Watertown airport has seen such a passenger increase because of Ft. Drum. When Cape Air still flew from there, they constantly filled those tiny planes with uniformed soldiers, there were more who would fly to Ogdensburg and drive to Drum from there. I’ve flown the American flights 4 or 5 times now (drove from Massena to do it) and they have ALWAYS been quite full, if not completely sold out. I don’t know what subsidy they are getting, but I think they’ve found that they have plenty of business, and the improvements at that airport will be worthwhile.

    The money for Massena, Malone, and Ogdensburg could help with attracting much-needed business to the area. It’s a safe bet that most companies who would consider taking the old GM site will be looking at how accessible it is. This money spent is more of a gamble, but if it brings more jobs to the area, it will be worth it.

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  8. PNElba says:

    The money discussed in this article has nothing to do with passenger subsidies. As I pointed out above, at least the spending is on US infrastructure. BTW, many other types of aircraft depend upon those airports including private/executive transport, military, cargo transport. I don’t know about Cape Air in Watertown, but I think Cape Air is getting to the point where it could survive in SL without subsidies.

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  9. Peter Hahn says:

    Many businesses wont locate where there is no air transportation available.

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  10. Wren Hawk says:

    Why no support for Adirondack Regional near Saranac Lake?

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