A multi-million dollar improvement has officially started at the Erie International Airport. It’s hoped this will better position the airport to serve the region for decades to come.

A groundbreaking ceremony is the start of an effort to replace what’s been called the worst surface on Erie International Airport grounds. That area can then handle larger planes — one example being then President Trump’s October 2020 rally.

“There was a big sort of stage set up and that’s where all of this activity took place. We put a lot of pressure because it was not designed for a 747 or 757,” said Derek Martin, airport executive director.

“If you want people to move in, if you want businesses to thrive, you have to have everything in place,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, (R), PA 16th District.

Congressman Mike Kelly is credited with securing $4 million of federal funding for the project, and presented that funding to airport officials on Monday.

“This is something that just makes sense, makes our community more attractive and makes our business community more attractive. So, it’s critical to Erie and to this part of Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Kelly.

The apron being upgraded also holds private planes flown into Erie for local events. The actual work will begin once the snow is gone and will take about 120 days from start to finish.

The total price tag for the project is $4.5 million.