EASTON — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have announced $5.55 million in federal funding for the Easton/Newman Field Airport through the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

This grant will fund the first phase, including land acquisition, of a project to shift and extend one of the airport’s runways to meet demand. It will also help finish paying off the former Black & Decker property.

Funding will be administered through Talbot County, which has been working toward this extension for nearly 10 years.

“The $5.5 million will help us get on track of our runway improvement plans. Certainly after last year, we didn’t get any grant funding, which kind of put us in a holding pattern, and we had to re-evaluate our improvement plans, and determine if we could stay on schedule,” said Easton Airport Manager Micah Risher.

Risher also added that the purchase of the Black & Decker property is safety related, and that property is going to used for a runway safety area, once the airport is able to extend the runway.

“I’ve strongly supported the ongoing federal investment in Easton Airport so that it can maximize its potential as an economic hub for the region. ESN continues to fuel local development and connect outsiders to Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore,” said Cardin, the senior Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “I am pleased to see years of planning by the county and community leaders pay off and will continue to advocate for federal investment in airports throughout Maryland.”

These DOT grants were awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The program funds various types of airport infrastructure projects across the country, including repairs and upgrades to runways, taxiways, airport signage, lighting and markings. This also allows thousands of good-paying, local jobs.

Cardin and Van Hollen have continuously fought for funding the AIP program, ensuring its inclusion in the five-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration package. Over the last five years, this program has brought more than $140 million in federal investments to Maryland airports for critical safety improvements.

“The Easton Airport serves as an important resource to the community and is vital to maintaining a strong local economy,” said Senator Van Hollen, member of the Senate Appropriations and Budget Committees. “This funding will help it continue to grow and bring travelers and business alike to the Eastern Shore. I will keep working in Congress to ensure that Maryland has the funding it needs to keep all of our airports, large and small, safe and accessible.”

The Maryland congressional delegation has successfully fought for federal investment in the Easton Airport for years. Most recently in 2017, Easton/Newman Field received funding through the Airport Improvement Program for repairs and improvements.

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