News Search

1 million awarded for Pennsylvania ANG taxiway relocation project

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jay Ostrich
  • Public Affairs Office
Imagine having to park or drive your car on a neighbor's lot anytime you needed basic maintenance or go to work. Now imagine paying him for that experience while operating in a less secure environment than the confines of your own garage.

That's exactly what the Airmen at the 193rd Special Operations Wing have endured for years at Harrisburg International Airport, Middletown, where a shared taxiway and limited parking space have made for less than ideal operations.

But thanks to great relations with the civilian airport authority and $1 million in additional federal funding awarded by U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, relief is on the way in the form of a much needed $6 million construction project.

Due to limited space, the unit often parked and maintained aircraft on HIA property, said Col. Jim Astor, 193rd Operations Group commander. This led to a decrease in ability for security forces to protect Airmen and aircraft, an increased risk of contact with civilian aircraft and less efficient maintenance.

Construction of additional military apron space and a redirecting of the civilian high-speed taxiway will relieve those issues, said Astor. The unit will now be able to taxi directly onto their newly acquired space, maintain the aircraft on their own property, and enhance security by keeping our aircraft on our property.

This will also relieve traffic concerns and enhance high-speed capabilities for commercial aircraft, said Tim Edwards, Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority aviation director.

"This is a shared need and a project we have been working on together for more than three years," said Edwards. "With the help of this funding, we can maximize the resources in the limited space we have here at HIA."

Maximizing resources and keeping airports safe is a chief concern shared by commercial airports, military installations and national leaders.

"We live in a different world," said Rep. Holden, who worked with SARAA and the Pennsylvania National Guard officials to relieve the security problem. "It's hard for us as Americans to understand someone's willingness to blow themselves up to hurt other people. So anytime we have people and aircraft at risk, we need to try and separate that the best we can."

But in the end, the bottom line went much further than dollars and common sense, said Holden.

"The 193rd is the most deployed unit for one reason - they are the best at what they do," said Holden. "Because of that, they deserve to have the best resources possible."