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Runway improvements will mean shorter wait on the tarmac

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon says a Sky Harbor runway-improvement project - funded by federal stimulus dollars - has created nearly 300 jobs.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon says a Sky Harbor runway-improvement project - funded by federal stimulus dollars - has created nearly 300 jobs. (Photo by Bill Coates)

Federal stimulus dollars are giving airliners a shortcut to their terminals, in addition to putting nearly 300 people back to work, said Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.

In a July 27 news conference, he highlighted a $12 million construction project to improve taxiways at Sky Harbor International Airport – part of his efforts to bring federal economic stimulus funds to the city. He made the announcement in front of a sign touting the improvements on a grassy area near the airport’s west entry.

He pointed to the activity on the runway to his north.

“Those are jobs – 285 jobs that have been created,” Gordon said.

He added the completed taxiway would be good for the environment as well, as it would provide commercial airliners a much shorter route to terminals after landing.

At the news conference, he introduced James Seaton, one of those put to work on the project. Seaton said he had been out of work a couple of months and his family had been cutting back on expenses.

“Now this reassures us we can get back to a normal life,” said Seaton, 37, who is married with two teenage children.

Gordon said he is still pursuing stimulus funds for the “people mover,” which would connect the airport to the light rail. The city is awaiting federal approval of $200 million for the project – dubbed PHX Sky Train – according to the Phoenix Business Gazette. The first stage would create some 5,900 jobs, city officials have said.

Gordon was joined at the news conference by Phoenix Aviation Director Danny Murphy and John Ames, senior vice president of Ames Construction, the taxiway project contractor.

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