Sen. Van Hollen presents air­port $607,500 check

Record Observer - - NEWS - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME Kjaime@ches­pub.com

STEVENSVILLE — Sen. Chris Van Hollen toured Bay Bridge Air­port on Kent Is­land Fri­day, Oct. 26, and an­nounced an award of $607,500 to the air­port from the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s Air­port Im­prove­ment Pro­gram. The fund­ing will al­low the air­port to fin­ish main­te­nance to re­move run­way ob­struc­tions, bring­ing the air­port up to cur­rent Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion stan­dards.

The air­port of­fers small air­craft bas­ing, flight train­ing, and main­te­nance ser­vices. While larger com­mer­cial air traf­fic is di­verted to Eas­ton/new­man Field in Tal­bot County, Bay Bridge Air­port still must re­main in com­pli­ance with FAA stan­dards.

“This will help this air­port con­tinue op­er­at­ing and th­ese funds come from the Air­port Im­prove­ment Pro­gram,” said Van Hollen. “We were able to get to­gether on a bi­par­ti­san ba­sis and pass a five-year ex­ten­sion of the FAA Reauthorization Bill. This is an im­por­tant hub for this re­gion, and it’s im­por­tant to the busi­ness com­mu­nity if they need to get to lo­ca­tions on the East Coast quickly.”

Van Hollen said the bi­par­ti­san reauthorization bill, which con­tained the Air­port Im­prove­ment Pro­gram monies, in­cluded a num­ber of other pro­vi­sions for the ben­e­fit of the broader fly­ing pub­lic as well as noise pol­lu­tion stan­dards sur­round­ing air­ports.

Ac­cord­ing to Queen Anne’s County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gregg A. Todd, FAA or­di­nance Part 77 re­quires that any­thing com­ing off the slope off a run­way must be iden­ti­fied and lit up.

What does not get lit up is trees and shrub­bery cur­rently off that area, so this fund­ing will al­low the re­moval of those haz­ards.

“The County Com­mis­sion­ers are very pleased in this term to have com­pleted a num­ber of deals that take the air­port from a con­di­tion of al­most per­ma­nent need­i­ness to one of sol­vency. It’s no longer an eco­nomic weight for the county to carry as it’s now in the black,” said Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Steve Wil­son.

No time­line was given as to when the tree re­moval would com­mence, but those slated to be re­moved have al­ready been marked.

Prior to vis­it­ing the air­port, Van Hollen toured Cult Clas­sic Brew­ery and spoke with own­ers Jesse and Brooks Mc­new about the process to es­tab­lish and grow their busi­ness on Kent Is­land. Van Hollen got a first look at the ex­pan­sion of the build­ing aimed at bring in live en­ter­tain­ment and in­creased rev­enue.

He talked about the im­pact of small busi­nesses on em­ploy­ment and tourism in the re­gion and dis­cussed his ef­forts in the Se­nate to sup­port Mary­land’s craft brew­ing in­dus­try.

Van Hollen’s next stop was Hy­drasearch, a lo­cal busi­ness that sup­plies a num­ber of boat­ing prod­ucts to com­mer­cial clients and U.S. mil­i­tary. There he re­ceived a tour of their pro­duc­tion floor and spoke to em­ploy­ees about the im­por­tance of ca­reer train­ing start­ing at the high school level.

Com­pany lead­ers also spoke with Van Hollen about the con­tri­bu­tion of the com­pany to is­sues of na­tional de­fense. They also dis­cussed the com­pany’s eco­nomic im­pact in the re­gion in terms of em­ploy­ment and part­ner­ships with area schools to de­velop a fu­ture work­force.

KRIS­TIAN JAIME

From left, Queen Anne’s County Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gregg A. Todd, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Steve Wil­son, and Rick Owens of the Bay Bridge Air­port dis­play the check for the FAA funds.

KRIS­TIAN JAIME

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, left, tours Cult Clas­sic Brew­ery with owner Jesse Mc­new.

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