WARWICK, RI – Four years after the original law expired, a newly passed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill finally gives airports nationwide the ability to use federal resources to plan and commit to long-term projects, and U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) wants Rhode Island to be well-positioned to take advantage of federal funds to improve T.F. Green Airport, including extending the main runway.

Today, Senator Reed joined Governor Lincoln Chafee, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, and RIAC Executive Director Kevin Dillon to discuss how the new FAA bill, which President Obama signed into law last week, authorizes $63.4 billion over the next four years, giving airports a stable source of funding and represents the first long-term law guiding FAA policy and spending since the last measure expired in September of 2007.

“T.F. Green Airport is an important economic engine for our state. Extending the runway will attract new business and high-quality jobs to Rhode Island. We have a chance to modernize the airport to accommodate bigger planes and transatlantic flights, connecting Rhode Island to the world. Now that the FAA bill has been signed into law, we must seize this opportunity to get this project off the ground,” said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who has helped secure over $111 million in federal funding for T.F. Green over the last decade, including funds to acquire land for noise compatibility, conduct environmental studies, rehabilitate the taxiway, and build new deicing containment facilities.

T.F. Green’s runway expansion has been studied for more than a decade. Last September, the FAA approved plans to extend T.F. Green’s main runway and make safety improvements to the airport’s crosswind runway.  Local and state officials have been meeting recently in an attempt to resolve local community concerns regarding the improvement project.

“All parties have worked together in good faith and I hope a balanced agreement can soon be reached that allows us all to move forward and accelerate our economic recovery,” said Reed.  “These are turbulent economic times and the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that this project will help put more Rhode Islanders to work now and in the future.  Now is the time to move forward together.”

T.F. Green Airport handled approximately 4 million passengers last year. The airport has service to 25 non-stop destinations with one stop connections to the world. It is currently served by Air Canada, Cape Air, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines/Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and U.S. Airways.