Barre's Knapp State Airport to get $6.2 million in stimulus funds

April 17, 2009

Governor Jim Douglas joined U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood today to announce a $6.2 million federal grant to rehabilitate a runway at Edward F. Knapp State Airport in Barre.  The project is estimated to create 54 direct and indirect jobs.

The funds were made available by the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  Secretary LaHood was also joined by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Lt. Governor Brian Dubie.

“This money will put people to work in Vermont while providing an important investment in airport safety. That means boosting the economy in the short term through job creation and sustaining economic recovery in the long-term by making airports more efficient and secure,” said Sec. LaHood.

Gov. Douglas added, “This project is a great example of the economic good that can be provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In the short term, construction projects like this one will provide employment opportunities for Americans in need of work during the current economic downturn.  In the long term, this project will have a lasting impact that will keep local businesses viable and competitive for years to come.”

“This grant is another example of how the economic stimulus package is rebuilding our infrastructure and moving America in a dramatic new direction by creating millions of good-paying jobs,” said Sen. Sanders.

“As a military and commercial pilot for the last 27 years, I know why the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have both identified taxiway and runway safety as a top priority,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie.  “This ARRA investment in Vermont’s aviation infrastructure will directly enhance safety at one of our state’s premier airports, and equip it to serve the area’s aviation needs for many years to come.”

Immediately following the announcement, Secretary LaHood met with Vermont officials to discuss additional transportation issues facing Vermont.  He then traveled to the State House for a town hall meeting where Vermonters had the opportunity to share with the Secretary the unique transportation challenges facing our state.

“I want to thank Secretary LaHood for coming to Vermont and for spending so much time listening to local officials and Vermonters about our important transportation needs.  I was encouraged to hear the Secretary express his opposition to increased federal gas taxes during this difficult economic time.  I agree, now is not the time for higher taxes on struggling families.  Instead we should work together to find creative solutions to our transportation challenges,” Governor Douglas concluded.