Joe Zerbey Airport in Schuylkill County will receive $97,500 for the design portion of a pavement rehabilitation project on Taxiways A, B and C.

The funds are part of an investment of $13.8 million in federal and state funds which will help 32 Pennsylvania airports make upgrades and enhance safety, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today.

"Aviation is a $12 billion industry in Pennsylvania, and investments in our airports pay dividends in job creation and economic growth," Governor Rendell said. "Each dollar we invest helps the airports stay safe and improves their service and infrastructure. The funding also helps to sustain jobs, including those at the airport and businesses supplying the materials for the improvements."

The state portion of funding – $886,765 from PennDOT's aviation development program – comes from the state's jet fuel tax and leverages more than $544,677 in local matching funds.

The Federal Aviation Administration is providing nearly $13 million in grants through the block grant program, which is funded through taxes collected nationally on airline tickets, freight waybills, international departure fees, and sale of aviation fuel. Airports receive up to 95 percent of eligible project costs for projects included in Pennsylvania's 12-year transportation program.

Public-use airports in the state are eligible for the aviation development program. Airports eligible for the federal block grant program include: general aviation airports, designated reliever airports, and non-primary commercial airline airports (those with fewer than 10,000 annual passengers) that are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.

There are nearly 290,000 people employed in the aviation industry statewide, representing approximately 5 percent of the workforce. The state has 133 public-use airports and heliports and 14 airports have scheduled commercial service.

For more information, visit www.dot.state.pa.us or call (717) 783-8800.