Schumer, Gillibrand secure $13K for Kennedy taxiways

By Philip Newman

The federal government has awarded nearly $13 million for construction and rehabilitation of taxiways at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) jointly announced the federal grant, which they said would cut flight delays and improve travel for millions of people passing through JFK, one of the nation’s busiest airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration has made available to JFK two grants totaling $12,912,749 toward taxiway repair and improvement. A $10.9 million grant will help build a new taxiway and another worth $2,012,749 will rehabilitate an existing taxiway.

“By expanding and improving our existing infrastructure at JFK, we can reduce flight delays and improve travel for the millions of passengers who travel through JFK each year,” Schumer said. “As one of America’s busiest airports, JFK needs infrastructure projects like this one in order to ease gridlock and air traffic.”

More commodious taxiways will reduce waiting among arriving jetliners heading for passenger gate areas as well as departing flights.

JFK handled more than 45 million passengers and 1.1 million tons of freight in 2009 alone.

By building an extra taxiway and refurbishing an existing runway, the U.S. Department of Transportation funds will enable JFK to increase its capacity and prepare for an even larger number of passengers in the future. JFK has long been, along with LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International airports among the bottom of the nation’s airports in flight delays.

JFK contributes about $30 billion in economic activity to the New York City area, generates around $9.8 billion in wages and salaries and employees about 35,000 people.

The Bay runway at JFK was widened and rehabilitated last year in a $376 million project carried out while the strip was shut down. The runway, designated 13R/31L, is known as Bay runway because it runs along Jamaica Bay. At 14,575 feet, it is among the world’s longest runways.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

More from Around New York