FAA approves Mercer County’s plans for new airport terminal ⋆ Princeton, NJ local news % – Planet Princeton

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The Federal Aviation Administration has given Mercer County the light to move forward with the design and construction of a new passenger terminal at Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing.

The agency has issued a “Finding of No Significant Impacts and Record of Decision” for the Environmental Assessment for the proposed new passenger facility at the airport. Many residents who live near the airport oppose the plan. A group called Trenton Threatened Skies has argued that the expansion will create air, water, and noise pollution.

FAA officials say the project does not have the potential for significant environmental impacts.

Mercer County has proposed to replace the old terminal, which was built in the 1970s, with a modern four-aircraft-gate terminal to be located next to the existing terminal. The purpose of a new terminal is to better accommodate current airport users and to meet forecasted demands for air travel in the area through the year 2035. County officials say a new terminal would address the needs of all aspects of airport functions such as baggage handling, Transportation Security Administration checkpoint and baggage screening, airline operations, and improved customer comforts such as concessions, waiting areas, and restrooms. Officials said there is no plan or proposal for new or longer runways, and said that the overall airport size “would remain exactly as it is today.”

“The existing terminal at Trenton-Mercer Airport is about one-third the size it should be for the number of travelers currently using it,” County Executive Brian Hughes said in a written statement. “As we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, we expect an increasing demand for leisure travel, and nationwide and at Trenton-Mercer, we are seeing airlines adding new flights and reviving old ones.”

The EA process, governed by the FAA, included data collection, development, and analysis of alternatives, identification and analysis of environmental impacts of the proposed terminal, and public participation. The purpose of the EA was to evaluate the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the terminal project, and to look for ways to minimize or avoid potential environmental impacts. The development of the proposed new terminal was arrived at by analyzing several terminal building alternatives along with a no-action alternative as they relate to environmental, social, and economic impacts, officials said.

Documents related to the project will be posted on the website

The approvals by the FAA include the expansion of the terminal aircraft apron, the relocation of the aircraft rescue and fire fighting building, access road construction for the fire fighting building relocation, a terminal access road and terminal parking lot reconfiguration, a new parking garage and associated
utilities, and stormwater management.

Currently, the airport has two runways and associated taxiways and infrastructure. It covers about 1,300 acres and is located four miles northwest of Trenton. The airport offers commercial service from Frontier Airlines and serves a large number of General Aviation aircraft. The existing terminal building is a 24,780-square-foot facility. Deplaning passengers are required to bypass the interior of the building and re-enter to gain access to the baggage claim area located inside the building. When combined, the existing terminal and baggage facility are 28,000 square feet. Due to the lack of space in the existing terminal building, the airport leases about 5,000 square feet of property that is not part of the airport. The leased space houses administrative offices and law enforcement, which are functions that would normally be located in the terminal.

The new terminal building would be about 125,000 square feet and would include 10 ticket counters, three Transportation Security Administration screening lanes, expanded baggage make-up and claim facilities, passenger waiting areas, concession areas, and building support spaces. Land improvements
include the reconfiguration of vehicular circulation to improve wayfinding and provide access
to the terminal area, and the reconfiguration of parking areas to improve access and circulation within the parking lots and along the adjacent roadways. A new terminal parking garage would provide covered parking within walking distance of the new terminal building. The existing terminal would be demolished.

The proposed expanded terminal aircraft apron, new terminal replacement building, terminal access road, terminal parking lot reconfiguration, and new parking garage are sited for development near the existing terminal building. The fire fighting building would be relocated south of the Runway 24 end along Scotch Road. Officials said there is no land acquisition involved with the proposed action. Construction is expected to occur over about 26 months.