Public can comment on Trenton-Mercer Airport Environmental Assessment plan

Photo courtesy of the Pennington School

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has cleared Trenton-Mercer Airport to release its draft Environmental Assessment (EA) document for public review, the next milestone in a multi-step process required by the FAA for Mercer County to move forward with its plan for a new passenger terminal facility at the nearly century-old airport in Ewing.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes proposes replacing the old 4-gate terminal, which was built in the 1970s, with a new, modern 4-gate terminal on the grounds where the airport fire station is currently located, and relocating the firehouse elsewhere on airport property, according to information provided by the county.

There is no plan or proposal for new or longer runways, and the airport size would remain exactly as it is today.

The purpose of a new terminal is to better accommodate the existing airport users and to meet forecasted demands to the year 2035, according to the statement.

A new terminal would address the needs of all aspects of airport functions such as baggage handling, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the airlines, along with customer comforts such as concessions, waiting areas and restrooms.

“The existing terminal at Trenton-Mercer Airport is one-third the size it should be for the number of travelers currently using it,” Hughes said in the 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 is governed by the FAA and requires a public comment period and a hearing for the public. The purpose of the EA is to evaluate the potential direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of the terminal project, and to look for ways to minimize or avoid potential 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, according to the statement.

“Look, we’ve read the reviews on Trenton-Mercer Airport, and while people rave about the ease and convenience, the terminal building gets low marks for being ‘small, cramped, uncomfortable and primitive,” Hughes said in the statement. “Add to that the physical distancing requirements for COVID-19, it further illustrates to us just how small the terminal space is in relation to the number of people awaiting to board their flight.”

The public is encouraged to participate in the 30-day Public Review process, which will begin on or around May 3.

After the 30-day public review, Mercer County will schedule a two-hour public hearing, which will be held virtually, recorded and posted on the terminal project website, www.TTNTerminal.com

The review of the plan allows the public to formulate comments for the public hearing. The public can view the draft EA on the website in pdf format or in person at various locations to be determined.

The meeting notification will be posted on the Mercer County website, www.mercercounty.org