Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has agreed to release $4.6 million in funds to finish a runway project at the Erie airport. Senator Casey urged the FAA to release the funds in a July letter and then personally called FAA Administrator Huerta to make the case for Erie. Senator Casey received word of the FAA’s decision in a call from Administrator Huerta this afternoon. Senator Casey also weighed in with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
“Upgrading ERI’s runway is a major economic development project in Northwestern Pennsylvania and I’m pleased that it’s going to get done,” Senator Casey said. “I’ve continually pushed the FAA to get these funds out the door because safe, modern and reliable air transportation is critical to Erie economic future.”
This project has long been considered the top economic development project in northwest Pennsylvania. In November 2007, County of Erie elected officials agreed to provide over $21.5 million to fund the local share of this $82 million project. The FAA informed these officials that the project would be scheduled for completion in 2013.
In July Senator Casey called Secretary Huerta to make the case and then Senator Casey also sent a letter on this subject in June. The letter can be seen below:
The Honorable Michael Huerta
Federal Aviation Administration
Dear Administrator Huerta,
I write today to urge you to prioritize the allocation of Airport Improvement Program (AIP) discretionary funds for the final phase of runway improvements at Erie International Airport (ERI). Once completed, this project will enhance safety and improve air service in the northwest region of Pennsylvania.
I have been informed that the Erie Regional Airport Authority has successfully completed all required prerequisite work to allow the FAA to offer a grant. As it stands, the Authority’s contractor is ready to start the final phase of construction but is unable to proceed without the remaining AIP funding. Continued delay would result in suspension of the contract and, in turn, create significant financial costs for the Authority.
This project has long been considered one of the top economic development projects in northwest Pennsylvania. In November 2007, Erie County officials agreed to provide at least $21.5 million over several years to fund the local share of this $82 million project. My office has been advised that at that time the FAA informed these officials that the project would be scheduled for completion in 2013. It is my understanding that as additional funds become available through the AIP program, it is within the discretion of your office to determine how those resources are dispersed. As appropriate, I respectfully request you prioritize fulfilling the federal government’s commitment to fund this project.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I stand ready to assist you to resolve this issue so that the Erie International Airport can complete its runway extension.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator