Maine airports to get more than $5 million in federal grants

A plane takes off from Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton in 2011.
A plane takes off from Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton in 2011. Buy Photo
Posted July 31, 2013, at 8:34 p.m.

TRENTON, Maine — More than $5 million in federal grant money is coming to airports in Maine, with roughly half of it earmarked for Hancock County’s airport near Mount Desert Island.

Of the $5.13 million in Federal Aviation Administration funds headed to Maine, more than $2.5 million will fund an expansion of the terminal building at Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport on Route 3.

Hancock County officials have said the airport project is expected to include renovation of the existing 3,500 square foot terminal building, which was built in 1976, and construction of an additional 5,500 square feet of space, most of it to the northern end of the existing building. New secure passenger screening and waiting areas, complete with restrooms, are planned for the building’s north end. A new arrival area would be built next to the new departure area, and a second set of bathrooms would be added to the south end of the existing building.

The existing building would be renovated to include new areas for ticketing, baggage check and claim, car rentals, office space, and possibly a food vendor. The new overall design is expected to result in better passenger flow through the building than the current design, according to county officials.

The Hancock County airport also is getting $68,553 in FAA funding for a separate project. Brad Madeira, the airport manager, said Wednesday that the additional money is to repaint markings on runways and taxiways that are used for visual guidance to pilots on the ground.

“Every few years, it needs to be repainted,” he said.

Members of Maine’s congressional delegation released prepared statements Wednesday as they announced the FAA grants.

“From airport terminals to runway enhancements, these projects represent a step forward not only for safety but also our economy,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a longtime member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “Investments in our airport infrastructure help ensure Maine communities stay connected and competitive.”

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King said in a joint statement that maintaining and upgrading airports in Maine, with its large geographic area, is important to the state’s economy.

“Maine’s small airports play a vital role in supporting local business, especially in the state’s more rural regions,” the senators said. “This funding will help make necessary improvements and maintain a safe operational environment at our airports.”

Other FAA grants awarded include:

• $750,000 to Bethel Regional Airport to construct a terminal building, access road, parking lot, and electrical vault.

• $526,302 to Pittsfield Municipal Airport for an apron expansion needed to accommodate the increased use of the general aviation facilities.

• $365,862 to Dewitt Field, Old Town Municipal Airport to reconstruct the existing taxi-lane pavement that has reached the end of its useful life.

• $254,397 to Northern Aroostook Regional Airport in Frenchville to construct a hangar and for runway rehabilitation.

• $216,000 to Northern Maine Regional Airport in Presque Isle to remove obstructions in a runway approach and transitional surfaces and to install wind cones.

• $162,808 to Bangor International Airport to maintain structural integrity of the pavement and terminal foundation of the apron. This grant will provide federal funding for the design phase of the apron repair project.

• $94,500 to Greenville Municipal Airport to update the existing master plan to help identify future airport needs.

• $85,680 to Brunswick Executive Airport for runway improvements.

• $45,000 to Wiscasset Airport for an environmental impact study.

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