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Airport Development

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For information about the latest developments at Trenton-Mercer Airport, including improvement projects and the Airport Master Plan Update, click on the links below.

What is an Airport Master Plan?

An Airport Master Plan is a process to plan for the short-, intermediate- and long-term development goals of the airport. The Airport Master Plan for Trenton-Mercer Airport will have a 20-year planning horizon based on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved aviation activity forecasts and will be developed through a combination of professional evaluation and public involvement. The goal of the Airport Master Plan is to provide the framework needed to guide future airport development that will cost-effectively satisfy aviation demand, while considering potential environmental and socioeconomic issues.

The recommendations contained in an Airport Master Plan do not necessarily represent the views of FAA, and acceptance of the Airport Master Plan by FAA does not constitute a commitment on the part of FAA to participate in any development depicted in the Airport Master Plan or indicate that the proposed development is environmentally acceptable. Rather, the Airport Master Plan is essentially a facility planning study that sets forth a conceptual framework for possible future airport development.

Why is Trenton-Mercer completing an Airport Master Plan?

The FAA recommends that public-use airports such as Trenton-Mercer Airport prepare a new Airport Master Plan every 10 years +/- or as local aviation conditions change. The previous Master Plan was completed in the late '90s; therefore, Mercer County has initiated this Airport Master Plan to ensure the airport continues to operate in a safe and efficient manner and to address any changes in the aviation industry both locally and nationally.

Who is preparing the Airport Master Plan?

Following a qualifications-based selection process, Urban Engineers was selected as the general consultant for the airport. Urban Engineers hired McFarland Johnson, a national aviation consulting firm specializing in airport planning studies at smaller commercial service airports.

Who is funding the Airport Master Plan?

The FAA provides 90 percent of the project funding, with the remaining 10 percent coming from Mercer County. The FAA funding is sourced from the Aviation Trust Fund, which is funded exclusively by various aviation user fees, including taxes on airline tickets, aviation fuel and some aircraft parts.

What is the purpose of the last two public meetings?

The first public meeting contained information on existing conditions, forecast and airport facility needs. The second meeting contained the same items as the first meeting but also presented the recommended development plan.

What public outreach has been done to inform the surrounding area on the airport plans?

In addition to placing public notices in both the Trenton Times and the Bucks Courier Times, Mercer County issued press releases for both meetings that were picked up by many media outlets in the two weeks leading up to each of the meetings. To further enhance future communication on airport planning/development related matters, the project team has been assembling an e-mail list from commenters and attendees to further enhance direct communication with interested parties. This list was used for the second public meeting.

Are any project approvals associated with these meetings?

No actions or specific projects are approved as result of the master planning process; the public meetings reflect the plan itself, and not the physical projects.

Is any runway extension being proposed?

There are no extensions or dimensional changes proposed to either runway at Trenton-Mercer Airport.

Will there be any changes to the airfield that will increase its current capacity?

Proposed modifications to the taxiway system do not enhance the airport’s capacity. Taxiway changes are on the premise of safety and meeting FAA design standards only (i.e. geometry improvements creating 90-degree intersections).

How do the future projected activity levels compare to the existing number of flights?

On an average daily basis, the forecast projects approximately 23 additional departures per day, up from the current average of approximately 120. The majority of additional operations would be recreational and corporate aviation. Just under five additional daily airline departures per day are anticipated in the 20-year horizon.

How much of the increased operations will be from commercial airlines?

Over the next 20-year horizon only 15 percent of the future growth at the airport is anticipated to be in the form of commercial airlines; nearly 85 percent of the future growth will be in the form of general aviation (private, recreational and corporate).

Are the commercial (airline) aircraft louder than the corporate aircraft?

Aircraft noise is not commensurate with aircraft size. In many cases, modern commercial jetliners are quieter and more environmentally friendly than many of the recreational and corporate aircraft flying today. The A320 and A320NEO are significantly quieter than the 737-200s that operated out of TTN in the 1990s.

What is the airport going to do with the land that is currently being acquired?

The current land/easement acquisition project is being done to ensure unobstructed airspace for the safe navigation of aircraft as trees have grown over the past few decades. This project is separate from the master plan; for more information related to this project, please contact the airport.

What are the different types of environmental reviews? Why are there different types?

The National Environmental Policy Act contains three types of approvals – Categorical Exclusion, Environmental Assessment, and Environmental Impact Statements. In general, Categorical Exclusions are used for specific categories of actions that meet certain criteria. An example of a Categorical Exclusion would be rehabilitation of an existing facility. Environmental Assessments are for projects that don’t qualify for a Categorical Exclusion and project effects that are not significant or can be mitigated so that they are not significant. Environmental Impact Statements are for projects where environmental impacts are significant and can’t be mitigated. Refer to FAA Orders 1050.1F and 5050.4B for a complete explanation.

Is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) more comprehensive than an Environmental Assessment?

The technical analysis is the same for an Environmental Assessment as it is for an Environmental Impact Statement.

What is the FAA’s role in the Airport Master Plan?

The FAA has two official roles during the Airport Master Plan study:

 FAA reviews and approves the aviation forecasts (the projected growth of airport services) that will be prepared as part of the master plan process; and

 FAA formally approves the ALP for airspace and design standards.

In addition, the FAA has a supportive and advisory role during the preparation of the Airport Master Plan. The FAA may provide comments on Airport Master Plan findings, recommendations and deliverables, and may offer technical assistance and support. The FAA does not formally approve the Airport Master Plan since it is considered a local policy or guidance document.

Are additional studies needed before the airport proceeds with a recommended construction project?

Yes. Approval by the FAA of the ALP means only that there are no safety concerns related to the proposed Airport Master Plan and that the depiction is in general conformance with FAA standards. Additional studies may be necessary before a project depicted on the Master Plan is implemented. At a minimum, these usually include NEPA documentation and any other studies needed to satisfy required permit applications.

Where can I read/review the Master Plan?

Draft chapters are currently being finalized. Draft documents will be made available on the airport website. A project website containing all of this information along with the draft report is being developed. Another e-mail will be sent when the materials are available

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