Provided/U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez Monday, Jan. 30 announced more than $16 million for AC Airport, aerospace park, 144th Fighter Wing projects.

ATLANTIC CITY – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) joined representatives of the South Jersey Transportation Authority and the National Aerospace Research and Technology Park Monday to announce more than $5.2 million in federal funding for airport projects. An additional $8.1 million was allocated to the Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing for upgrades to its base located in Atlantic City.

“Today is a good day for the residents who call Atlantic City and Atlantic County home. Every investment we make in this airport — this critical piece of South Jersey infrastructure — is an investment in the people and the families who live and work here,” Menendez said in a press release. “The funding we are announcing today is just one of the many ways we are making New Jersey the best place to start a business, the place to do business, and the place to scale a business in this increasingly interconnected world.”

The funding is part of a bill Congress passed in December that includes more than $181 million for New Jersey projects.

“New Jersey’s airports serve as critical transportation and logistics hubs that help grow our economy, create good jobs, and connect our state with the world,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said. “I am proud to have secured this funding that will allow Atlantic City International Airport and the National Aerospace Research and Technology Park to make much needed upgrades and technology enhancements that will improve safety and better serve our state and region.”

The funding will be used to pay for the design costs of a new taxiway at Atlantic City International Airport to provide access to a proposed cargo terminal that will create new jobs and help local small businesses. It will also help with the development of emerging technologies associated with autonomous vehicles that would safely and securely operate on and around an airfield environment. The new cargo taxiway is estimated to create approximately 540 construction jobs and up to 100 permanent jobs.

The initial phase of the Airfield Autonomy Initiative at the technology park will create approximately 25 new jobs and focus on automated lawn mowing, foreign object debris sweeping, and perimeter patrol to provide more efficient and reliable ground operations and increase the safety of workers, equipment, and aircraft. They will also reduce the operating costs and labor required to complete a variety of maintenance, security, and operational tasks.

The technology park will work in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, Atlantic County Economic Alliance, and private industry to pioneer the development and demonstration of the first ever, dual use, airfield specific autonomy command and control systems.

“We are extremely grateful to Sens. Menendez and Booker for their support for both this project and the NARTP,” said Howard J. Kyle, president and CEO of NARTP. “The goal is for all partners to build relationships that ensure the United States remains the leader in aviation while providing the safest, most efficient aerospace systems in the world. This initiative will also help overcome personnel shortages that impede both the military and civilian operators while enabling operators to focus on more critical, hands-on tasks that boost aircraft turnaround times.”

The Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing is receiving a total of $8.1 million for upgrades to its base, which includes $5.1 million to construct a new Base Main Entry Control Facility. The ECF will include a gatehouse with overhead protection at inbound vehicle lanes, over watch position, covered canopies for vehicle inspection, active vehicle barriers, security gate and fencing, utilities, and lighting. 

The 177th is also receiving $3 million to construct a new hangar to continue maintenance of 18 Primary Assigned F-16s of the 177th Fighter Wing. The hangar is required to provide space for scheduled inspections, landing gear retraction tests and major maintenance on airframe repairs.


Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.