Ocean County is applying to the New Jersey Department of Transportation for two grants to cover the cost of improvements to the Ocean County Airport, Route 530, Berkeley Township.
“While the funds are not guaranteed, it’s important to file the grant applications now to offset the cost of future improvements,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the airport. “We have been very successful in the past in securing state and federal grants to improve this facility.”
Ocean County is seeking grant funding that would assist with a major crack repair project on the existing aircraft parking apron. The apron provides storage space for planes and small corporate jets.
“This is a vital area of the airport and needs to be improved,” Vicari said.
He noted that portions of the apron are more than 10-years-old and the project would extend the life of the pavement for another 10 years.
The total estimated cost for the repairs is $1.2 million and the NJDOT grant would provide just over $1 million for the project.
The second project covers the construction of a new t-hangar taxi-lane which would be installed prior to the placement of a new future t-hangar building. T-hangars provide indoor storage space for aircraft and are revenue generating facilities.
The total project cost is estimated at $1.18 million and the NJDOT grant would provide approximately $1.083 million.
Both projects are consistent with the airport master plan and the Memorandum of Agreement the County executed with the New Jersey Pinelands Commission in 2012.
Vicari said the airport is an important part of the County’s economic base and must be well-maintained especially for public safety.
“This helps with our tourism efforts,” Vicari said.
Vicari added the airport, located on 420 acres in Berkeley Township about five miles west of Toms River, provides a central location for a host of public safety services.
The precision approach facility features a 6,000 foot runway, a crosswind runway, and accommodates various aircraft, including private airplanes, small corporate jets, the state Forest Fire Service planes, the Civil Air Patrol and Emergency Services aircraft.
Since 1990, Ocean County has received more than $23 million in federal and state funding for airport improvements.
In addition to the new crosswind runway, in recent years, county, state and federal funds have helped pay to widen the existing runway, extend the taxiway, install a stormwater control system, construct new hangars, install a new system of signs and lights and rehabilitate the taxiways and apron.
“This airpark is an important element of the county’s transportation program,” said Vicari. “It’s essential the facilities be kept current and at up-to-date standards.”