Economic boost forecast from extension of airport runway

Cutting the ceremonial ribbon are (l-r) Gus Pego, FDOT District 6 Secretary; State Rep. Frank Artiles; U.S. Rep. David Rivera; Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez; U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart; Miami-Dade Commission chair Joe A. Martinez; Krystal Ritchey, FAA program manager, and José Abreu, county Aviation Department director.

A new black macadam carpet was rolled out with red carpet treatment at Kendall – Tamiami Executive Airport on Apr. 11.

More than 50 federal, state and county officials as well as staff members led by U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart were on hand to mark a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the 1,000-foot extension of the south runway which parallels SW 136th Street.

The extended runway allows corporate and private aircraft to carry increased fuel or cargo, flying to Latin American and Caribbean locations as well as distant airfields in the continental U.S., previously impossible without a refueling stop.

The expansion project cost $4.43 million with $4.2 million from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant, largely credited to an assist from Rep. Diaz-Balart.

Officials and VIPs gathered at the Landmark Aviation center before taking a quarter-mile bus trip to a tented area at the far western tip of the new runway to cut a ribbon marking the extension from 5,000 to 6,000 feet.

“This extension will do nothing but benefit the business owners and residents around the airport by attracting more private jet travelers to make a stop in Miami- Dade County,” Miami-Dade County Commission chair Joe A. Martinez said.

“As the economy continues to rebound, this longer runway will enable us to expand our economic impact,” he added, recalling Kendall history when residents once fought expansion of the airport facilities.

“All ideas have a starting place, and this one began the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations [KFHA], back when several airport issues were aired in public meetings, at least 10 years ago.”

Both Martinez and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez called attention to new jobs the runway expansion would create through added business.

The airport generates more than $51 million in business revenue and provides an estimated 750 jobs in the local economy, according to a 2010 economic impact study.

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