Massena, Potsdam airports getting $1.1 million for upgrades
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 9:01 am

Two St. Lawrence County airports will receive $1.1 million in federal funds for upgrades, according to New York's two U.S. senators and the North Country's representative in Congress.

Massena International-Richards Field is set to receive $925,250 and Potsdam Municipal-Damon Field will receive $252,000 in U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) funding for airport facility improvements, according to press releases from Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Bill Owens.

Massena International-Richards Field will use this federal funding to build a taxiway to ensure access to the T-hanger and adjacent taxiways, with the aim of creating safer and more efficient airport operations. The funding will also be used to remove obstructions to create clearer more navigable airspace, as well as to design an access road.

Potsdam Municipal-Damon Field will use the funding to replace fences to ensure aircraft safety and overall airport security by stopping unauthorized entry and wildlife hazards. The funding will also be used to rehabilitate the taxiway pavement.

“Our regional airports are a vital resource for local business travelers and tourists,” said Congressman Owens. “Many connect travelers to larger airline hubs and support business activity throughout the region. These FAA grants awarded by the Department of Transportation will help ensure the longevity, safety and reliability of these important facilities.”

“We should always strive to achieve the highest standards of aviation safety, and this funding will support that goal by repairing and upgrading the infrastructure at Massena International-Richards Field and Potsdam Municipal-Damon Field,” said Senator Schumer.

“These are important investments for the North Country’s airports,” Senator Gillibrand said. “These federal dollars will help support infrastructure upgrades to improve our airports and provide better, safer service for New Yorkers.”

“On behalf of the Massena Town Council and all of our citizens, I want to express our gratitude for these grants. Operating an airport in an expensive proposition for a small rural town, so this federal money ensures that we can keep our facility in top notch condition. Massena Airport is an essential business tool for our community and the entire region that uses it every day,” said Joseph D. Gray, Massena Town Supervisor.

“The Village of Potsdam very much appreciates the senator’s help in securing this funding. Our airport is a key part of our economic development strategy,” said Potsdam Mayor Steven Yurgartis.

The funding for Massena International-Richards Field and Potsdam Municipal –Damon Field is a part of the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and is administered by DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Funds are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes, and similar revenue sources.