The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration has awarded $2,182,579 in competitive grant funding to Maine communities for local airport improvements.

“Maine’s aviation infrastructure keeps its residents connected to the rest of the country and the world and plays a vital role in supporting local businesses, especially in the state's more rural regions,” Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King said in a joint statement. “These FAA grants will help these small airports make the necessary upgrades and developments to improve their air travel services and safety.”

The awards and recipients are as follows:

— The Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head will receive $525,000 for the expansion of the snow removal equipment building to allow existing equipment to be protected from adverse weather conditions, thereby extending its useful life, as well as $400,000 to remove obstructions in Runway 13 approach surfaces

— The Bangor International Airport in Bangor will receive $795,000 to reconstruct approximately 1,400 linear feet of access road pavement, which has exceeded its useful life.

— The Princeton Municipal Airport in Princeton will receive $161,579 to fund the design and construction of new runway lighting to replace the current system, which has reached the end of its useful life and requires rehabilitation to enhance safe airfield operations during low visibility conditions.

— The Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport in Auburn, the Belfast Municpal Airport in Belfast, the Bethel Regional Airport in Bethel, the Central Maine Airport of Norridgeworck in Norridgewock, the Eastern Slopes Regional Airport in Fryeburg, and the Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport in Sanford will receive a total of $301,000 to maintain the structural integrity of the runway pavement and minimize debris in the path of airplanes that are taking off or landing.