- Associated Press - Monday, October 2, 2017

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo marked 1,000 days since her inauguration Monday by celebrating a runway expansion at T.F. Green Airport and expanding a job training program.

Raimondo and Rhode Island’s congressional delegation attended an event at the airfield maintenance facility in Warwick to announce the completion of the runway expansion. They said the modernized airport will help draw businesses to the state and help others already there expand.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, helped direct about $110 million in federal funding to extend the primary runway so the airport can offer more nonstop and international flights, and to modernize the facility. Reed, Raimondo and others said the improvements will help the state’s economy, bring more airlines to the airport and extend the reach of Rhode Island.

“Someone has to say it, so I’ll be the corny one. Rhode Island is taking off,” Raimondo said as the crowd laughed and planes took off from the nearby runway. “But it is true. We have an undeniable sense of momentum.”

Michael Huerta, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, also attended the event. Huerta said the airport is an extremely important part of Rhode Island rebuilding after the recession. He said improving airports in the Northeast is a big focus for the FAA because of the number of delays in the region due to high traffic and adverse weather.

The airport was one of several stops Raimondo made Monday throughout Rhode Island. In Narragansett, she announced the creation of a new apprenticeship program to train commercial fishermen since the current workforce is aging.

The Rhode Island Republican Party criticized the tour, saying the state’s business climate is still poor. Raimondo said there’s a lot more work to do to rebuild the state’s economy, but she feels great about the progress made so far.

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