A $4.83 million grant is expected to complete ongoing repairs to a long-damaged runway at Francis Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, federal legislators announced Wednesday.
The grant — the second one issued in the past year to fix the 5,000-foot runway — will help replace the remaining 3,000 feet, a Suffolk County spokeswoman said. The airport is home to the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard, which provides combat search and rescue coverage for U.S. and allied forces worldwide.
A $2,486,087 grant approved in September 2015 covered about 2,000 feet of runway repairs, including pavement resurfacing and fixing cracks.
County officials have raised safety concerns over potholes and pavement debris on the runway.
“This second phase of funding will provide the resources necessary to fix the entire runway at Gabreski Airport,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said in a statement, noting the 106th’s “crucial role to protect our national security and New York’s emergency response capabilities.”
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the grant and upgrades are critical for both airport employees and fliers.
Airport officials did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment. A spokeswoman from the 106th Rescue Wing Public Affairs office said Wednesday that officials are waiting for more details about the grant and would not comment.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) lauded the grant.
“With this federal funding, Gabreski Airport will be able to make the critical upgrades necessary to ensure its runway is cleared for takeoff and safe for the courageous service members of the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard,” he said.