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Houlton Airport to receive $4 million for taxiway reconstruction

HOULTON, Maine — Houlton International Airport has been selected to receive a total of $4.4 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Airport Improvement Program and the CARES Act, which has provided relief funds throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The project that will be funded calls for the design, permitting and construction of the extension and reconstruction of one of the airport’s parallel taxiways, which is more than 26 years old and in need of replacement. The contract for the project was awarded to Soderberg Construction of Caribou.

The announcement was made on Tuesday, Sept. 22, by the office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who also serves as the chairwoman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. 

“In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Houlton International Airport — a vital part of Aroostook County’s infrastructure — is struggling to make ends meet given the sharp downturn in passenger traffic,” Sen. Collins said in a prepared statement. “This investment in its infrastructure will help ensure that it continues to serve as an engine of job creation and an essential piece of our transportation network after this crisis has passed.”

Houlton Town Manager Marian L. Anderson said that the project would not just benefit Houlton’s airport, but the southern Aroostook region in general by helping to provide local jobs. 

“Our success is success for southern Aroostook,” said Anderson. “While we don’t shuttle thousands of passengers a day, we are a resource for business growth and economic development in our region.”

Details of the project include the construction of more than 5,000 feet in an extension of a parallel taxiway and the removal of more than 3,000 feet of existing taxiway. It also includes the repair and replacement of drainage structure,s as well as the installation of eight replacement and three new guidance signs. 

It is the second major funding for the airport in recent months, after receiving $400,000 in late July as part of a $3.5 million AIP fund for Maine airports. While Houlton International does not offer commercial flights, it is the home of several businesses and serves as a general aviation airport.

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