Pittsfield- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) and State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli (D-Lenox) announced today that the Pittsfield Municipal Airport will receive $106,125 in state grant funding from the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission (MAC).
“Pittsfield’s airport project is gaining momentum and its completion will provide a much-needed boost to the economic and financial base in our corner of the Commonwealth,” said Downing. “When designing, constructing or expanding any transportation infrastructure, safety always comes first- if the proposal does not address prudent safety measures, it simply will not move forward. This funding is critical for acquiring the necessary space to make this runway expansion safe and viable.”
The total project cost is $4,245,000 which includes engineering, property purchase, demolition, administration and legal services. The airport will eventually acquire seven parcels of land totaling 116 acres for runway safety areas, protection zones, runway and taxiway extension, open space preservation and airport terminal area improvements.
“This is exciting news. All the pieces are falling into place for positive economic development. Soon we will see tangible benefits not only for the City of Pittsfield, but Berkshire County as a whole,” remarked Pignatelli.
This funding comes from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program. This program leverages federal grants to public entities for the planning and development of public-use airports. All eligible projects receive 95% funding for costs from the FAA, 2.5% from MAC and the other 2.5% from the municipality.
“I would like to thank Senator Downing, Representative Pignatelli, Representative Speranzo & all the members of the Berkshire Delegation for continuing to support this vital project to enhance the Pittsfield Municipal Airport,” Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto stated. “Not only is this expansion mandatory to allow the airport to comply with Federal safety standards, but it is an essential economic development project to help Pittsfield and the Berkshires retain and attract top businesses.”
Mark Germanowski, Manager of the Pittsfield Municipal Airport continued, “These grant funds represent a significant milestone for the airport improvement project. Without MAC funding participation, the City’s ability to make this airport safer and more efficient could not be realized. Ownership of these properties allows the airport to finalize the efforts needed to obtain all environmental permits that influence the design and ultimate construction of safety and aircraft operating areas.”
June 2007 has proven to be a shot in the arm for Pittsfield’s airport improvement projects. Earlier this month, the Airport was awarded two grants from the MAC, totaling $10,475, to aid in environmental permitting and airspace obstruction removal.