Fed Approves OC Airport Grant

OCEAN CITY – Two days after Ocean City officials approved a contract for the rehabilitation and repair of the north-south runway at the municipal airport, banking on approval in federal funding for the project, Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin formally announced the federal grant had been cleared.

During last Tuesday’s work session, the Ocean City Mayor and Council approved an engineering services contract with Delta Aviation for the design phase of the rehabilitation of the north-south runway at the municipal airport, which was first constructed in 1978 and is now considered to be in a “state of failure,” according to airport officials. Town officials approved the roughly $400,000 initial phases of the estimated $2.8 million project on the promise the federal and state funding would be in place when the contracted work was set to begin.

Two days later, last Thursday, Mikulski and Cardin announced the approval of a $161,465 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to Ocean City for the federal portion of the design and engineering phases of the runway rehabilitation project.

“Safety is my number one priority when it comes to federal funding for airports and this grant will ensure that residents and visitors traveling to Ocean City have an airport that meets current safety standards,” said Cardin. “Ocean City and Worcester County depend on a strong, vibrant airport as an economic engine for the region.”

The Ocean City Municipal Airport handles roughly 36,000 operations a year and the rehabilitation project will bring the runway up to current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standards. The planned improvements include milling down the existing surface of the runway, sealing cracks and other damages and replacing the surface with new pavement to mitigate age and weather-related distresses over the years.

The project also includes installing new lighting and fixtures along the runway and it surrounding safety areas in addition to new signage and wildlife fencing.

 “Each year I fight for federal funding to keep Marylanders on the go and to make traveling in the state safer, faster and easier,” Mikulski said. “This funding lives up to that promise by extending the life of the runways at Ocean City Municipal Airport. The increasing amount of passenger traffic is great news for our economy, but we must provide support so that local airports can safely accommodate the increase in traffic.”