By Gazette Staff Reports
NEW BEDFORD — Gov. Deval Patrick visited Bridgewater State University’s Aviation Training Facility located at the New Bedford Regional Airport Tuesday to announce the results of a statewide airport economic impact study that finds Massachusetts public airports generate $11.9 billion in economic activity and support approximately 124,000 jobs.
“Infrastructure investments just like these create jobs and improve public safety,” Patrick said. “New Bedford Airport is one of many great examples of the importance of aviation facilities to our economic strength.”
After touring the training facility, Patrick proclaimed the month of November as “General Aviation Month.”
The Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study completed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division with the assistance of the Federal Aviation Administration measured the total economic impact of the 39 public-use airports in Massachusetts, including Boston Logan International Airport. The airports’ $11.9 billion in economic activity and 124,000 related jobs reflects commercial airline service, military aviation, emergency law enforcement and medical transport activity and general aviation.
The Administration’s investments in state airports also includes a $7 million grant awarded by MassDOT’s Aeronautics Division to the city of New Bedford to help support its ongoing $17 million New Bedford Regional Airport runway safety project, which is also supported by federal funding. The project began in 2010 with completion expected in 2013.
“The MassDOT Board of Directors’ investment in the New Bedford Airport is literally an investment in the regional community and the strong working relationships with airport tenants such as the Bridgewater State Aviation Training program,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “New Bedford Regional Airport is an economic engine for southeastern Massachusetts, with an annual economic output of $26 million.”
“The funds supporting this project in New Bedford will improve safety for all aviation users, including the Bridgewater State University flight instructors and the student pilots,” said Christopher Willenborg, MassDOT Aeronautics Division administrator.
The Bridgewater State program established in 1981 offers a four year Bachelors of Science in Aviation Management that includes flight training. Currently, there are approximately 140 students in the aviation management program.
The MassDOT Board of Directors in the past two years has approved additional infrastructure investments in the Commonwealth’s airports, including a $13.4 million grant for runway extension and safety at the Pittsfield Municipal Airport and $13.1 million toward a new terminal building at Barnstable Municipal Airport, in addition to annual ongoing airport maintenance improvement projects statewide.
Nov 15, 2011 11:25 AM
By Gazette Staff Reports