Trenton-Mercer Airport Faces Sequester Nightmare [AUDIO]
After years of little activity, Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing is now flying high, as the commercial carrier Frontier Airlines continues to expand operations and offer travelers more flights to different cities.
With the airport becoming an important economic driver for the entire region, Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno announced $2.5 million in state funds will be used to improve taxiways and upgrade other infrastructure – with another $9.5 million in the pipeline.
But, there are concerns the success story could come to a crashing halt because of looming sequester budget cuts in Washington.
Federal funds that pay the salaries of air traffic controllers at Trenton-Mercer, and many other smaller airports could be cut starting next month.
It’s prompted Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, the Christie Administration and Jersey’s Congressional delegation to petition the FAA to make an exception, and keep the money flowing.
Hughes says a letter has gone out to the FAA outlining the importance of keeping funding in place for control tower operations, because the airport is critical for economic growth and development.
Frontier Airlines has indicated it could still take off and land without air traffic controllers, but Hughes said that is not an ideal scenario.
“You want people to believe that this airport is safe. We’ve had 100 percent FAA safety ratings going back for 10 years. If our public doesn’t trust the airport or if we get some very bad weather or foggy weather, that’s going to be a problem.”
“Certainly there’s nothing about the operation of this airport is ever going to compromise public safety,” Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno said. “We have a very good partner in Frontier Airlines, who are also advocates for keeping this airport open and safely run.”
“I’m hopeful that the Congress and Washington are going to be able to resolve all these disputes.”
A decision by the FAA is expected to be announced on Monday.