The Federal Aviation Administration is providing $3.1 million to build a new taxiway at the Morrisville-Stowe State Airport aimed at improving traffic patterns for the myriad pilots who use the increasingly busy regional airport.

Private, commercial and glider pilots all share the airport.

A new parallel taxiway will be added to the north end of the runway. This will allow pilots to enter and exit the north end without having to “back-taxi,” or backtrack a plane along the runway in the opposite direction it is meant to land or take off. It will also help keep the runway clear for incoming or outgoing aircraft.

“Safety comes first in everything that the Agency does,” said Agency of Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. VTrans is the recipient of the federal money.

The funding is a supplemental appropriation to the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program. On May 15, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced its intent to award projects totaling $779 million at 127 airports in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

In a joint statement, Vermont’s congressional delegation — Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch — said, “This funding will enable Vermont to improve safety at one of our busiest airports used by local pilots as well as visitors from out of state. Safe airports with active private and commercial use are a vital part of Vermont’s transportation infrastructure. We will continue to advocate in Washington for federal investment in Vermont’s aviation system.”

Gov. Phil Scott thanked the Washington lawmakers, saying state airports play an important role in the economy.

“Increased safety at the Morrisville-Stowe airport is a major win for those currently using it and will help as we work to attract new businesses and expand hangar use,” Scott said.

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