Menendez and Atlantic City Officials Announce $5.2 Million for AC Airport Projects [VIDEO]

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) joined today with representatives of the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) and the National Aerospace Research and Technology Park (NARTP) to announce more than $5.2 million in federal funding projects related to airport projects. An additional $8.1 million was allocated to the Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing for upgrades to its base located in Atlantic City.

“Today is a good day for the residents who call Atlantic City and Atlantic County home. Every investment we make in this airport — this critical piece of South Jersey infrastructure — is an investment in the people and the families who live and work here,” said Sen. Menendez. “The funding we are announcing today is just one of the many ways we are making New Jersey the best place to start a business, the place to do business, and the place to scale a business in this increasingly interconnected world.”

“New Jersey’s airports serve as critical transportation and logistics hubs that help grow our economy, create good jobs, and connect our state with the world,” said Sen. Booker. “I am proud to have secured this funding that will allow Atlantic City International Airport and the National Aerospace Research and Technology Park to make much-needed upgrades and technology enhancements that will improve safety and better serve our state and region.”

The funding is part of the federal government funding bill Congress passed in December, that included more than $181 million for New Jersey projects advocated for by Senator Menendez. The funding will be used to pay for the design costs of a new taxiway at Atlantic City International Airport to provide access to a proposed cargo terminal that will create new jobs and help local small businesses, as well as the development of emerging technologies associated with autonomous vehicles that would safely and securely operate on and around an airfield environment.

“The Atlantic City International Airport is extremely grateful to Senator Menendez for securing $3 million in funding for the planning and design of a new cargo taxiway at the airport,” said Stephen Dougherty, Executive Director for the South Jersey Transportation Authority. “The Senator’s continued advocacy, and specifically this recent funding, will allow us to diversify revenue at the airport and get us one step closer to providing long-term economic growth and development to the South Jersey region.”

The new cargo taxiway is estimated to create approximately 540 construction jobs and up to 100 permanent jobs.

The initial phase of the Airfield Autonomy Initiative (AAI) at NARTP – which will create approximately 25 new jobs – will focus on automated lawn mowing, foreign object debris sweeping, and perimeter patrol. Devices used for these purposes will enable more efficient and reliable ground operations and increase the safety of workers, equipment, and aircraft. They will also reduce the operating costs and labor required to complete a variety of maintenance, security, and operational tasks.

NARTP will work in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC), the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, and private industry, to pioneer the development and demonstration of the first-ever, dual-use, airfield-specific autonomy command and control (C2) systems.

“We are extremely grateful to Senators Menendez and Booker for their support for both this project and the NARTP,” said Howard J. Kyle, President/CEO of NARTP. “The goal is for all partners to build relationships that ensure the United States remains the leader in aviation while providing the safest, most efficient aerospace systems in the world. This initiative will also help overcome personnel shortages that impede both the military and civilian operators while enabling operators to focus on more critical, hands-on tasks that boost aircraft turnaround times.”

The Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing is receiving a total of $8.1 million for upgrades to its base, which includes $5.1 million to construct a new Base Main Entry Control Facility (ECF). The ECF will include a gatehouse with overhead protection at inbound vehicle lanes, over watch position, covered canopies for vehicle inspection, active vehicle barriers, security gate and fencing, utilities, and lighting.

The 177th is also receiving $3 million to construct a new hangar to continue maintenance of 18 Primary Assigned F-16s of the 177th Fighter Wing (NORTHCOM Alert). The hangar is required to provide space for scheduled inspections, landing gear retraction tests, major maintenance on airframe repairs, and ensuring Technical Order compliance along with making related modifications.

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