Rutland Airport To Spend Federal Grants On Safety, Energy Improvements

06/08/12 12:04PM By Nina Keck
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AP File/Toby Talbot
A US Airways Express plane taxis at the Burlington International Airport in South Burlington. Five Vermont airports from Burlington to Lyndonville are going to be receiving a total of $1.2 million for improvement projects.

Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport will receive over $400,000 in federal aviation grants. The money will help the airport boost safety and energy efficiency.

Guy Rouelle, Vermont's State Aeronautics administrator, said over the next two years they want to reduce energy consumption at Rutland's airport by 80 percent. They'll take a big step in that direction by installing 8 new solar powered obstruction lights.

"Rutland sits kind of in a bowl - those lights actually illuminate the hillsides and let pilots know where the terrain is," Rouelle said.

The current incandescent lights require over 40 miles of power lines and maintenance on those lines costs tens of thousands of dollars annually.  Rouelle said using solar powered beacons will help the airport save nearly $50,000 a year. "So we eliminate the power lines and the maintenance associated with that," Rouelle said. "And we also lower the power usage - there's no power bill now because we would be solar and LED lights."

Rouelle said the lights will also be easier to monitor electronically for maintenance personnel. Funding for the project comes from 1.2 million in federal aviation grants.  Besides Rutland, four other airports are receiving money including: Burlington International, Middlebury State, Caledonia County and William H. Morse state airport in Bennington. 

Those airports plan to use the funds primarily on runway upgrades and repairs. 

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