DEXTER, ME - The runway reconstruction project scheduled for Dexter Regional Airport has been delayed because of ceilings on federal funding.
The town of Dexter was recently notified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the full scope of this $3.3 million project—originally scheduled to begin construction in 2010—is delayed until 2013 due to reductions in the FAA's Airport Improvement Program. This program provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports like Dexter Regional Airport.
Last week, Dexter Town Manager, Judy Doore, members of the town's airport committee, Stan Berube, Roger Nelson, and Jim Crane, along with representatives from consultant Stantec met with officials from the FAA and the Maine Department of Transportation to address the project delay and what options the town has making for the needed airport improvements. Together, they were able to negotiate a short-term funding plan that will allow preliminary design and environmental permitting associated with the project to move forward this year, as well as obstruction removal, a small security fence, runway safety area improvements in 2009. The agencies also agreed that Dexter will be first in line for additional discretionary funding if it becomes available prior to 2013.
“We need to keep this crucial project high on the list for the FAA and the state,” says Judy Doore, Town Manager. “The airport is vital to the area's economic revitalization, and the agencies recognize that. The funding delay is understandable given the state of the economy, but we remain optimistic that this badly needed project will continue to move forward.”
The town began its plans for airport improvements in 2002 when the airport master plan was updated. The plan intends to address several important safety issues at the airport, including improving the safety areas around runways, pilots' lines of sight, and runway lighting. During the last eight months, the town's airport consultant, Stantec Consulting Services, prepared an engineering feasibility study that provided a number of alternatives, resulting in the most cost effective and environmentally sound plan for the improvements. In February, both the airport committee and the town council unanimously approved the plan.
In addition to the 2002 master plan update and 2007 engineering feasibility study, the airport recently purchased snow removal equipment and constructed a snow removal storage building, all of which were almost entirely (97.5 percent) funded through federal and state grants. Private aircraft owners have also constructed several new hangars at the airport over the past several years. The hangar owners pay for the construction but lease the land from the town and pay annual property taxes on the buildings. These taxes are the principle source of revenue for small general aviation airports. Through conservative planning, the airport has ample room for continued hangar development.
Dexter Regional Airport has been in operation since 1941 and serves southwestern Penobscot County. The airport is comprised of approximately 129 acres of land and is located three miles southeast of the town of Dexter on Airport Road, which borders the town of Corinna. Currently, there are approximately 25 based aircraft operating from a 3,000 foot paved runway and 1,300 foot turf crosswind runway.
|Back to News||Home||Print This Story|