OC Secures FAA Funding Help With Airport Projects

officials got a dose of good news this week when the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) agreed to fund a large percentage of the ongoing expansion
and repair projects spelled out in the Ocean City Airport’s updated master
plan, but the offering should not be construed to mean the town is planning to
move forward with the massive expansion proposed for the facility.

Public Works Director
Hal Adkins told the Mayor and Council on Monday City Solicitor Guy Ayres had
been contacted by FAA officials about approval for about $141,000 in federal
funding for ongoing projects in the town’s master plan for its municipal
airport. Town officials have been in the process of updating the facilities at
the airport including repairing and replacing runways, hangars and other
components as prescribed by the town’s master plan for the facility.

The Airport Master Plan
was first created in 1998. It was updated in 2002 to include a wide variety of
improvements and enhancements at the facility. The town has embarked on many of
the projects included in the updated master plan already, but the
correspondence received from the FAA this week provides federal funding for the
projects and amounts to a blessing from the federal agency to move forward with
the updates prescribed in the master plan.

“We’ve been working to
gain approval from the FAA for our updated Airport Master Plan,” Adkins told
the Mayor and Council on Monday. “Most of the projects have been completed, but
we had received no paperwork from the FAA until this morning.”

According to Adkins, the
FAA on Monday agreed to provide federal funding for as much as 95 percent of
the ongoing improvements at the Ocean
City Airport,
amounting to about $141,000. Funding for the improvements would come from an
FAA fund generated through user fees and taxes. Another 2.5 percent of the
funding would come from the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA), making the
local contribution a mere $3,532 for the projects spelled out in the master

Adkins was quick to point
out the ongoing projects at the airport are not part of a larger plan to expand
the facility and lengthen its runways in the future to allow larger aircraft to
utilize the facility. Under that plan, which has been put on the back burner,
the preferred alternative is to extend the existing east-west runway to 5,000
feet and relocate Route 611.

“This FAA funding has
nothing to do with the long-range plan to expand the airport beyond what it is
today,” he said. “This deals only with property east of Route 611.”