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TRENTON, N.J.
— Mercer County received today a New Jersey Department of Transportation grant of $353,000 to go toward the installation of EMAS (Engineered Material Arresting System) beds at the ends of Runway 16-34 at Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing. This latest grant adds to the $13.4 million received from the Federal Aviation Administration for the project, bringing the total to nearly $13.8 million. Work is due to commence in the spring of 2012.

“We have aggressively pursued as much outside funding as possible for this important safety project that will allow us to continue to modernize and upgrade this valuable County asset,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “We are certainly grateful that the State joins with the federal government in affirming and acknowledging the economic value of Trenton-Mercer Airport and the necessity for such a system,” said County Executive Hughes.

In its resolution, the state declares, “Many privately owned public use general aviation airports which are essential to the State’s economic development are in danger of conversion to non-aviation uses, and it is in the public’s interest to provide State assistance to preserve these airports.”

Hughes agreed. “Trenton-Mercer is an economic driver in our region that generates, according to a state study, more than $217 million in economic impact to our regional economy and generates more than 2,000 jobs in our area. For Mercer County alone, the airport provides $1.5 million in local property tax revenue,” he said.

EMAS beds consist of high-energy absorbing concrete blocks of selected strength, which will reliably and predictably crush under the weight of an aircraft that has overrun the runway. The aircraft is slowed by the loss of energy required to crush the blocks. The aircraft is stopped with hopefully no injuries to passengers and crew, or damage to the aircraft. According to the FAA, there have been seven incidents where EMAS safely stopped overrunning aircraft, with no injuries to the 230 passengers and crews involved, and little to no damage to the aircraft reported. Currently, there are 36 airports that are utilizing the EMAS system.