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$1.5M in grants will prep MacArthur for major upgrades

Long Island MacArthur Airport is seeking to build

Long Island MacArthur Airport is seeking to build a new concourse and upgrade other areas to attract more airlines. Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Long Island MacArthur Airport received $1.5 million in grants this month and is poised to secure millions more from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a new 100,000-square-foot concourse, an airport official said.

Obtaining three grants in July from the FAA was important because MacArthur moves closer to being “shovel ready” with plans to construct a new concourse along with renovations to a parking ramp for planes and baggage-claim terminal, said airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken.

Officials plan to also apply for about $67 million from the FAA to construct the concourse and additional enhancements, but will compete with similar-sized airports for the federal dollars, LaRose-Arken said.

“The airport is uniquely positioned to obtain federal funding for construction by completing and having shovel-ready projects,” she said. Being ready to construct moves MacArthur up in priority as the FAA assesses where to dole out money, LaRose-Arken said.

The FAA grants MacArthur secured include $477,000 to pay for a study to work out logistical issues of building the new west concourse. Cincinnati-based Landrum & Brown Inc. is the firm conducting the study. The proposed two-story concourse is meant to replace the existing 8,200-square-foot concourse built in 1990.

A second FAA grant totaling $326,000 will fund the firm hired to design improvements to a plane parking ramp. Johnson, Kukata & Lucchesi PC, of Maryland, has been retained for the project, LaRose-Arken said.

A third FAA grant of $732,000 is for design costs to renovate MacArthur’s main terminal including replacing a roof and four baggage carousels, LaRose-Arken said. Syracuse-based C&S Companies was hired for that job.

The three FAA grants cover 90 percent of the project's costs. Five percent of expenses are paid for by the state. The other 5 percent is funded by passenger facility charges — the $4.50 fee on every passenger ticket, LaRose-Arken said.

Making the airport bigger will help attract new airlines, she said.

Frontier, American and Southwest airlines fly out of the Ronkonkoma airport. Frontier, which uses the west concourse, is adding 38 round trips per week next winter. A new concourse becomes "more and more essential" as more passengers fly Frontier, LaRose-Arken said.

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