The state Senate had removed that money but restored it at the request of state Sen. Sandra O’Brien

The WRPA is one of only 17 agencies to be awarded money Friday from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation program. The $8,028,000 award to the WRPA was the fifth-highest amount of the 17 projects. Overall, nearly $100 million in grants was announced Friday by the DOD.

“This is huge,” said Anthony Trevena, WRPA’s executive director. “It’s a really, really big deal. It is the driveway to the air base. Without it, the new C-130Js will have a hard time getting to the runway.”

Trevena is referring to eight new C-130J Super Hercules aircrafts coming to YARS. The planes cost about $1 million.

The base will get two planes next year. Then there will be a 14-month gap before the next plane arrives. After that, a new plane will be delivered every other month until all eight are at the base.

It will take about three years for all eight planes to be stationed at YARS.


The taxiway at the airport, located in Vienna, is in poor condition, Trevena said.

“That’s been an issue for seven or eight years,” he said. “We need to do it now while it’s a resurfacing project. In the next three to five years, it’s a full-depth replacement and costs about four times the amount of resurfacing it. It would be crippling to wait that long. There’s no way we could do that.”

Resurfacing the taxiways will improve military training exercises, make deployments safer and make emergency response more rapid, according to the DOD statement.

Helping WRPA in this competitive federal grant was $3 million included in the state budget, approved June 30, for the airport to use to get greater federal funds for improvements, Trevena said. The state Senate had removed that money, but restored it at the request of state Sen. Sandra O’Brien, R-Lenox, who represents Trumbull County.

“We need that 10 percent match to leverage federal dollars,” Trevena said. “The Valley delegation took $800,000 and turned it into an almost $9 million project. It’s great teamwork here.”

The project will start next summer and take a couple of months to complete, he said.