A request for the state to increase its share of a matching grant program for airports has been turned down.
The Department of Transportation has rejected a request to increase its portion under an Airport Safety Fund Program to compensate for a reduced level of federal aid.
Mayor Steve DiDonato, whose town of Hammonton has a publicly owned airport, had petitioned the Department of Transportation to kick in more money following a move by the federal government to decrease its share.
Historically, under the Airport Safety Fund Program, the funding broke down this way: 95 percent federal and 2.5 percent each from state and local governments
Hammonton was hoping the state could increase its share to 7.5 percent because many towns are unable to increase their portions.
But the department has decided not to kick in more funding.
It stated in a response to the request that its regulatory limit on the state matching portion still applies even though the federal share has dropped, and it has declined to amend its regulations.
In part, the department stated that “just as the airport owners must take into consideration the current economic situation when planning for improvements, in considering the use of Transportation Trust Fund monies to provide matching grants, the department is also constrained by limited funds and the need to prioritize spending in a difficult economic environment …”