The Western Reserve Port Authority is switching back to Vienna for security at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport after a hiatus of about three years.
Wednesday’s decision to do so severs ties with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s office, which had been providing the service.
The reason for the change is simply that the airport is in the township and its police officers should be the ones providing the protection, John Moliterno, port authority executive director, said.
The port authority and township still need to work out some of the details of the one-year agreement that calls for officers to be paid directly whenever their services are used.
That is typically when flights arrive and depart the airport, which has been without regular daily service for more than a decade. Allegiant Air provided leisure service for about 10 years, but pulled out in early 2018. And for a brief period in July 2016, there was daily service, but it was abruptly grounded weeks later.
“There is not a lot of use right now because there is not a lot of traffic at the airport, (but) once the commercial traffic comes back, it could become very busy,” Moliterno said.
Whatever arrangement is finalized, the board wants to make sure the security is reimbursable from the Federal Aviation Administration. FAA requirements dictate an armed uniformed officer be present at the terminal during any passenger airline operations.
Said Vienna Trustee Richard Dascenzo Jr., “I’m glad we got it back and glad we established a relationship back with them (the port authority), that we were able to work out any differences and be working as neighbors again.”
Port authority board members also agreed Wednesday to let Moliterno go ahead and apply for a multimillion dollar federal grant that would be used to help remake state Route 45 in Lordstown, Warren and North Jackson into a smart corridor.
The port authority is taking the lead on the application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for the grant through its BUILD — Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Developments — program. The request is in the realm of $18 million to $20 million.
The other local groups involved are the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, Lordstown, the Ohio Turnpike and Youngstown State University. They hope to capitalize on the energy and momentum surrounding next-gen technology happening in Lordstown, including the General Motors / LG Chem battery-cell plant and Lordstown Motors Corp., which hopes to start making battery-powered pickup trucks late this year or early 2020.
The plan includes lining the route from the North Jackson / Lordstown area to downtown Warren with high-speed internet fiber, adding intermodal capability and developing autonomous vehicles, including freight. Bailey Road in Lordstown also could be connected to the high-speed fiber.
The application is due by Saturday. A 50 percent match is required to win the money. DriveOhio, which is part of the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Smart Mobility Center, also would be a partner in the application.