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OBPA to move forward with phase 1 of Ogdensburg Airport runway expansion

OGDENSBURG — The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority (OBPA) plans to move forward with the first phase of its more than $25 million runway extension at Ogdensburg International Airport.


The OBPA will use more than $7.5 million in federal funding to pay for the first phase, which involves extending the runway at the St. Lawrence County facility.


The office of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) announced the federal funding in a news release issued Sept. 18.



The airport needs a bigger runway so Allegiant Air (NASDAQ: ALGT) can land its planes when service begins in November 2016, Schumer said.


Allegiant Air decided in 2014 to offer flights from Ogdensburg.


The OBPA had requested more than $14 million in its application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The funding is available through the FAA’s airport-improvement program.


“The [OBPA] is going to proceed with the project in advance of the FAA’s funding of the second phase. That way, we can get the project completed and done within 

the allotted time frame,” says Wade Davis, OBPA executive director. Davis spoke with CNYBJ on Sept. 25.


He expects a groundbreaking in mid-October and anticipates crews will finish the project in November 2016.


The OBPA indicates that $20 million of the project’s total costs target the runway extension. The total cost also includes a $5.7 million project to expand the airport terminal and add more parking. 


Other sources are funding that part of the project, according to the OBPA.


Of that $20 million figure, the FAA is expected to handle 95 percent of the cost. The New York State Department of Transportation and the OBPA are to each cover 2.5 percent of the cost.


CNYBJ asked Davis how much the OBPA needs in funding beyond the $7.5 million that the FAA awarded in the grant.


“Well, there are no guarantees in the second phase. The FAA program is currently up for reauthorization, so there is actually no FAA program after Sept. 30 of this year,” says Davis.


Congress will have to reauthorize the airport-improvement program, he says.


“Obviously, we’re watching what the FAA reauthorization does. We hope for the best and plan for the worst,” he adds. 


“This major federal investment in the Ogdensburg Airport will finally allow the first part of this long-awaited runway extension to get underway. But the job is not done yet … we are going to keep fighting tooth and nail for the additional funding needed to complete this project and clear the Ogdensburg Airport runway extension for take-off,” Schumer said in the release. “This runway expansion will finally enable Allegiant Air flights, which has bigger planes, to land and provide a major economic boost to the entire area — which would result in the creation of good-paying construction jobs, more tourist dollars, increased travel options for residents, and an improved climate for business.”


Project details


The project seeks to expand the runway by 1,200 feet to make it a 6,400-foot runway. 


“It will be relocating 3,000 feet of State Highway 68. It will be widening a taxiway. It will be expanding an apron, an aircraft apron,” Davis says of the project’s work.


The OBPA in July awarded the contract for the runway-extension project to Frankfort–based Marcy Excavation Services. The award, at the time, was dependent on an FAA funding award, says Davis.


He says the service from Allegiant Air means 38,000 people will be flying in and out of Ogdensburg “in the dead of winter” — many people that otherwise wouldn’t be in Northern New York.


“The beauty of this is they not only fly out but they fly back and when they’re here, they patronize the hotels, they patronize the restaurants, buy a Pepsi and a tank of gas at the local stores, so this is a big deal for the entire region,” says Davis.        




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