The grant is expected to cover 95 percent of the project’s costs. The AIP is funded exclusively by fees paid by airline travelers, and not taxpayer dollars.
“Every year the Santa Maria Airport contributes millions of dollars to our local economy, and the building of the new runway will create local construction jobs right here on the Central Coast, while encouraging long term economic growth, ” said Congresswoman Capps. “Extending the runway will allow the airport to accommodate larger planes, bringing travelers and business leaders from all over the world to the Central Coast. It will also enhance the safety of airline passengers and our local communities.”
“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the future of the Santa Maria Valley depends on an infrastructure that will support creation of small business, expansion of our current economic base’ and an inducement to bring in new businesses and new jobs. The runway expansion project is a vital part of that infrastructure and is without a doubt the engine that will drive the local economy for years to come, starting with the infusion of almost $7.5 million into the local community in construction alone,” said Hugh Rafferty, President of the Santa Maria Airport Board of Directors.
A longer runway at the Santa Maria airport will enhance safety for current airport users by allowing for a longer stopping distance during inclement weather. Additionally, by providing additional take off distance planes will be able to depart with extra fuel and/or cargo. Room for extra fuel or cargo will allow greater flexibility for air tankers contracted by U.S. Forest Service for firefighting operations, or for private aircraft that need the extra fuel to make it to Hawaii, Asia, or other distant destinations. Additionally, the longer runway will provide opportunities for aviation businesses looking for a west coast base of operations, expanded airline service, and a more capable facility for larger transport aircraft in response to any regional emergencies.