The St Augustine – St Johns County Airport Authority announced to Historic City News the opening of “Taxiway B” this week; the last phase of a multi-year runway and taxiway improvement program at the Northeast Florida Regional Airport.
The final taxiway segment, which is located along the southwestern edge of the 8,000-foot long runway and offers full-runway-length taxiway access, marks significant safety and operational enhancements.
“The improved taxiway will enhance the safe movement of aircraft,” said Carl Youman, Chairman of the Airport Authority. “It gives us more operational flexibility in handling the more than 120,000 takeoffs and landings that occur each year.”
The airport authority is a St Johns County taxing district like the Anastasia Mosquito Control Board and Port and Waterway District; but, the airport has remained off the ad valorem tax rolls in recent years, an accomplishment that makes Chairman Youman proud.
“A $6.5 million Airport Improvement Project grant from the Federal Aviation Administration funded this project,” Youman told reporters. “Airport Improvement Project grants are provided using the Aviation Trust Fund that relies exclusively on aviation fuel and airline ticket tax revenues.”
The FAA grant to construct the taxiway covered 95 percent of project costs. The balance of funding for the project came from Florida Department of Transportation and surplus operating revenues of the Northeast Florida Regional Airport.
“This taxiway improvement will help the Northeast Florida Regional Airport accomplish its long-term goals,” added Ed Wuellner, Executive Director of the Airport Authority. “This new taxiway signifies more than just new pavement, it provides a path forward for the airport; to safer, more sustainable airfield operations in Northeast Florida.”
Wuellner praised local contractor, Turnbull Environmental Constructors, who served as the lead contractor; and, Wuellner says has done an incredible job of assuring compliance with all environmental permit conditions associated with the construction project.
“The taxiway is yet another vital piece of aviation infrastructure that our airfield provides for the region,” Wuellner said.
Earlier improvement project elements included main-runway shoreline restoration and improvements and the associated award winning environmental efforts that provided for saltwater-marsh restoration and spoil-island removal.