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NH general aviation airports to share in $4.1m FAA grant


CONCORD — The state's general aviation airports will divvy up $4.1 million in federal grant money to finance equipment purchases, safety improvements and planning studies.

Concord Municipal Airport, Pease International Airport in Portsmouth and Boire Field in Nashua are among the airports that will benefit from the funding, announced on Thursday by New Hampshire's congressional delegation.

The grant will be administered through the state Department of Transportation Aeronautics Bureau, which requested the funding from the FAA based on applications by the airports.

"They submit their applications to us; we then take those applications, approve them, and the request the funding from FAA, and so now the funding will be arriving," said Tricia L. Schoenick Lambert, administrator of the Aeronautics Bureau. "This money is critical to the development and safe operation of New Hampshire's general aviation airports."

The state's two passenger airports in Manchester and Lebanon receive federal funding for improvements based on their passenger volume through a different program.

The smaller airports, open to the public for general aviation, are an important part of the state's transportation system, Lambert said. "These airports facilitate emergency response activities and promote business use, thereby strengthening the state's economy," she said.

Among the projects to be funded are pavement and drainage repairs at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease, a new taxiway at the Concord Regional Airport and a new 12,000-gallon fuel storage facility at Berlin Regional Airport.

There are 24 public, general aviation airports across New Hampshire that serve many of the state's 74 registered commercial operators. Under the FAA's Airport Improvement Program, federal grants cover 90 to 95 percent of planning and development costs for eligible projects at qualifying airports.

dsolomon@unionleader.com

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