Sen. Van Hollen presents airport $607,500 check
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.
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.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, left, tours Cult Classic Brewery with owner Jesse Mcnew.