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For OBPA, shutdown is a slowdown

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For the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, the federal government shutdown is a more like a slowdown.

The OBPA isn’t in danger of losing key federal government assistance where lately it matters most: grant funding for Ogdensburg International Airport from the Federal Aviation Administration.

On Wednesday, the authority board approved an FAA grant offer of $394,250 to cover 95 percent of the cost of $415,000 of snow removal equipment for the airport. Executive Director Wade A. Davis said that the funds are secure. But the shutdown may mean a slowing down of the bureaucratic

process that will ensure that the money gets from Washington to Ogdensburg.

“It’s possible,” Mr. Davis said. “It’ll delayed.”

The shutdown will also likely delay the FAA’s endorsement of the OBPA’s master plan for the airport.

“That may slow things up a little,” Mr. Davis said.

In another FAA-related airport matter, the repaving of the airport’s 5,200-foot-long runway will start next spring, Mr. Davis said.

The $3.6 million project is 95-percent funded by an FAA grant. The repaving will be done by Barrett Paving, Norwood, for $3.2 million and will take three months to complete.

Also, the FAA has just received a copy of a consultant’s feasibility study on expanding the airport’s runway to 6,000 feet and the terminal.McFarland-Johnson, Binghamton, was hired last spring to do the study for $89,283.

On Wednesday, the authority board also approved paying the firm another $25,000 for “on-call planning services” in assisting the OBPA in the now likely lengthier FAA review and, hopefully, approval process.

“This is a very sensitive project,” board chairman Samuel J. LaMacchia said Thursday. “We want to see just what this airport can do.”

The authority wants to expand the length of the runway to make it able to accept larger commercial airplanes, generating more activity at the airport and making it profitable.

The airport is located on Route 812, south of the city.

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