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$93K to fund snow removal

| Saturday, July 27, 2013, 1:31 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
The McVille Airport, in South Buffalo, will recieve grant money from PennDOT, for the use of snow removel equipment. Friday July 26, 2013

South Buffalo Township's McVille Airport is to receive $93,750 for snow removal equipment as part of a statewide campaign to enhance airport safety.

The funding is part of a $2.1 million state investment campaign, funded through the state's jet fuel tax and distributed through PennDOT's aviation development program. The airport, located on Ford City Road, is one of 19 airports to receive funding.

The equipment funding requires a $31,000 match from the airport, according to PennDOT spokeswoman Erin Waters-Trasatt.

“The project is part of our long-term plan, and the airport will be able to secure their funding once they put it out for bid,” Waters-Trasatt said. “Since they are purchasing equipment, it should be able to move forward rather quickly.”

Tom Kijowski, co-owner of the McVille Airport, said he hopes to use the money to purchase a truck, plow and salt spreader for the airport. Primarily, he plans to use it to clear the runway, which is under construction.

“With this new equipment, we'll be able to operate all year long, which is not only good for the airport, but good for the entire county,” Kijowski said. “We should be ready to bring in flights sometime this fall.”

The privately-owned McVille Airport opened in 1954, but closed in 2007, to allow crews to mine for coal.

Last year, it recieved $1.2 million in grants from PennDOT to install a 3,000-by-60-foot runway. The grants required a 25 percent contribution from the airport.

PennDOT also gave McVille an additional $622,500 to upgrade its above-ground fuel facility, continue runway work and install navigation lighting, in August, Waters-Trasatt said.

Once it reopens, Kijowski said, the airport will be able to accommodate light twin-engine and single-engine aircrafts, but not large, multi-engine jetliners. Small and large corporations tend to prefer smaller twin or single-engine planes instead of larger aircrafts, he said.

“A lot of times we don't look used, like with most small airports, but it only takes a few business transactions and flights to justify the airport,” Kijowski said. “Although recreational flying has dropped, due to the cost of fuel and maintenance, business flights have increased across the board, and is proving to be a growing industry.”

Gov. Tom Corbett considers the airport contributions an investment in the local economies and infrastructure.

“Airports contribute to our communities' economies and create thousands of jobs for Pennsylvanians,” Corbett said in a press release. “This state support will help the airports continue operating safely and ensure that they can continue to meet business demands.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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