Secy. Buttigieg tours Trenton-Mercer Airport as local officials pitch expansion

New Jersey officials hope to move forward on a controversial plan to expand Trenton-Mercer Airport

Matt Trapani and Nick Meidanis

Apr 13, 2023, 12:31 AM

Updated 464 days ago


New Jersey officials hope to move forward on a controversial plan to expand Trenton-Mercer Airport and made a pitch to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday for federal funding.
Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman led the effort.
Trenton-Mercer is not a commercial hub. Frontier Airlines is the only commercial airline that flies out of the airport. Passengers must walk to the tarmac. The airport is generally used by Gov. Phil Murphy and big corporations like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
Officials say that much of the property is out of date.
"As you can see a lot of these facilities are showing their age, so being able to see it for myself, gives me a better sense of the interest and the urgency,” Buttigieg said.
Local officials spent the afternoon sharing their vision. A new terminal is at the heart of it. They also wish to make the airport five times bigger, with about 50% more flights. The county says the expansion could cost at least $150 million.
The Federal Aviation Administration has already given its approval for the expansion, but others are fighting it.
"This is not a done deal,” says Judy Hoechner, of the group Trenton Threatened Skies.
Advocacy groups, towns and businesses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have filed lawsuits because they say the FAA and local officials are downplaying the impact of the expansion.
"They have in no way acknowledged the impact this expansion will have on the citizens and environment in the surrounding area,” Hoechner says.
Hoechner says that her group wants the property tested for so-called “forever chemicals.” She says she fears construction would send those chemicals into the drinking water.
But those pushing for the project say the county has done its research.
"You can't please everyone all the time so what we really try to do is please the majority of the people that seek the need and value of flying out of this airport,” Watson Coleman says.
Buttigieg did not yet commit to more funding. But the White House has spent a lot of money on infrastructure in the past. There has been bipartisan support as well.
A timeline for what is next concerning this project is not clear.

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