Burlington International Airport has spent millions over the last several years developing not only better facilities for air passengers, but general aviation, laying the groundwork for a strong economy that could help Vermont out of the recession and set the stage for long-term growth.
Over the last 15 years, the airport has expanded the south end, where facilities for private aircraft has seen strong growth. Heritage Aviation has spent millions of private investment dollars to maintain and service aircraft -- even including renewable energy, in the form of wind and solar arrays, a first for any general aviation facility in the country.
That was matched by even more public investment on the part of the airport itself. Airport Operations manager Robert McEwing said, "We've actually put just under $15 million, $14.9 million, into developing this south end."
McEwing and other officials addressed two state Senate committees in hopes of showing them how all of the investment will benefit Vermont's economy. For instance, Pratt and Whitney fixes aircraft engines, employing dozens of highly skilled technicians 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "All of this is a plus for economic development in the region," McEwing said. "And that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to provide jobs, we're trying to provide jobs for students and this is very important. We want to keep Vermonters here, we want to keep the students here -- and this is one way to do it."
The expansion includes a proposal to build and grow the Burlington Aviation Technology program by taking it out of its current location in a small and run-down brown building, and building new quarters nearby.
The question is, can the lawmakers come up with any money at all in this very tight economic time? None of the legislators was prepared to say where they might come up with $2 million for the new building on this short a notice. That kind of money might have to wait till next year. But the project does have its supporters.
Burlington Aviation Technology Program director Rick Sylvester said, "Yes, we're going to see the building. It may not be this year, it may not be next year. But we're going to continue work on it."
Officials here say the tech school expansion, coupled with the rest of the south end airport improvements, would give Vermont the best facilities -- unmatched anywhere else in New England. For a state looking for economic growth, it has grabbed attention.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>