Port Columbus International Airport
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Elaine [Roberts]. I’m happy to be here.
Columbus is a great city. I’ve long been struck by how this community comes together. The business and civic groups … the airport authority … members of the university … and others … take special pride in this region. If you want to see great examples of citizenship, you need look no further than greater Columbus, Ohio. Because of your vision, we’re here today.
The FAA is proud to partner with you. We’re committed to building and sustaining America’s infrastructure. It’s the foundation upon which our economy moves. Airport investments like the one we are celebrating today are critical for local communities and economies.
One of President Obama’s top priorities is to strengthen America’s middle class. The FAA is doing its part to support the President’s call. Building and sustaining our nation’s infrastructure creates good jobs now, and makes us more competitive in the global economy. Airports like Port Columbus are an economic engine for our country.
Our ability to make future investments like these depends on stable funding for the FAA next year and beyond. The President has called on Congress to replace the damaging budget cuts imposed by the so called sequester with a balanced approach that reduces the deficit while protecting critical priorities like infrastructure investment and funding for education.
Runways and airways are a vital part of our infrastructure. Today, we’re commissioning the replacement of the 10R/28L runway. This capital project is the largest one in the history of Port Columbus airport … and the FAA has contributed nearly $88 million – more than 60 percent of the cost. It was completed on schedule and within budget – something everyone appreciates.
We’re making the right investment at the right airport. Port Columbus is the second busiest in the Buckeye State. Last year, you handled 132,000 air traffic operations … and served 6 million passengers. NetJets, a major business jet company is headquartered right here … and employs more than 1,600 people in Ohio. As a whole, civil aviation supports 10 million American jobs … about 175,000 of those jobs are right here in Ohio. And nearly $6 billion in freight flows through Ohio by air. When you make an investment in Columbus, you get dividends across Ohio and across the nation.
By moving the runway more than 700 feet south, the airport has room to grow in the coming decades. You’ll have the potential to run simultaneous arrivals and departures. Simply put, this means more planes would get in and out more efficiently. You’ll have the space you need to modernize the terminal … and build a second one if necessary. And the old runway will become a new, more efficient taxiway. It will reduce the time it takes for aircraft to go from the terminal to the runway. Less time means less delay … and less fuel burn and emissions by the aircraft. So aircraft operations will be more cost effective and more environmentally friendly.
This project is one of many investments the FAA has made at Port Columbus over the past decade. Since 2003, we’ve awarded more than $65 million in airport grants to improve the taxiway … reduce noise … and prevent runway incursions … just to name a few areas. These efforts enhance air traffic safety, and support the economic growth of central Ohio. I can't tell you how excited I am to declare runway 10R/28L open for business at Port Columbus International Airport.
Thank you, and I’ll turn it back over to Elaine Roberts.