U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez visited Atlantic City on Monday to announce that more than $5 million has been appropriated for upcoming Atlantic City International Airport projects.
Also announced by Menendez (D-N.J.) was an additional $8.1 million allocated to the Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing in order to upgrade the Atlantic City base.
“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. “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.”
“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,” U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said in a statement. “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 is part of the federal government funding bill Congress passed in December, which included more than $181 million for New Jersey projects advocated for by Menendez. 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, as well as 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 NARTP — which will create approximately 25 new jobs — will focus on automated lawn mowing, foreign object debris sweeping and perimeter patrol. Devices used for these purposes will enable 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.
NARTP will work in cooperation with the Air Force Air Mobility Command, the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, the 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.