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Source : Unsplash
March 10, 2023
Author : Alex Bustillos
With air traffic set to reach pre-pandemic levels this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US Department of Transportation is awarding $1 billion from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to capital construction programs in nearly 99 airports across 47 states and 2 territories.
The grant is intended to assist the airports in meeting rising air travel demand through improvements such as larger security checkpoints, more reliable and faster baggage systems, better infrastructure and multimodal links, and upgrading outdated air traffic control towers.
According to the US Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, "Americans deserve the best airports in the world, and with demand for air travel surging back, this funding to improve the passenger experience comes at the right time." He further said that these funds help create new job opportunities and support local economies.
These grants are on top of the $1 billion for 85 Airport terminals announced last year. Most of these projects are under construction.
Several grants will be allocated for building new or expanded terminal facilities, like $29 million awarded to Salt Lake City International airport. The New SLC (a phased Terminal and North Concourse Redevelopment Program) aims to replace aging and capacity-constraint airport facilities.
A part of the fund is awarded for phase 4 of the New SLC, which includes 16 new gates and up to five permanent hardstand positions in Concourse B.
$10.8 million was allocated to Des Moines International Airport to replace the 75-year-old terminal.
Many grants aim at making passenger check-ins more efficient by improving security screening areas, like awarding $50 million to the O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, for rehabilitation and expansion of passenger access for the 60-year-old terminal 3. The project includes reconfigured Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, Central passenger corridor improvements, new Americans with Disability Act compliant and family restrooms, and passenger baggage system updates to help travelers in and out of the airport more quickly.
Meanwhile, $10 million was granted to the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and $6.5 million to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah. The Columbia Metropolitan Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport received $5 million and $16 million, respectively.
Several grants include a component that will improve the passenger experience, such as more dependable and speedier baggage systems. Under this clause, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport received $4.4 million, Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport received $4.3 million, Bradley International Airport received $5 million, and Key West International Airport was awarded $13.3 million.
$38 million was awarded to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Baltimore, MD. A part of the funding will go to Concourse A and B expansion project, which includes baggage system improvements, a direct airside connection between the two Concourses, and much more.
Some grants aim to increase access to transportation modes or improve roadways, like allocating $8 million to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in Kenner. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was granted $1.6 million, while Nashville International Airport received $7 million.
Funding was awarded to airports for refurbishing their air traffic control towers, like $4.5 million contributions to the Rosecrans Memorial Airport in St. Joseph, $500,000 to Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, and $2 million to Albany International Airport in Albany.
Some award contains an element that will increase terminal sustainability, like the $35 million grant to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Texas. It forms the second phase of the Zero Carbon Electric Central Utility Plant installation in the platform that will be powered 100% by renewable energy and achieve its target of zero carbon emission by 2030 while providing the airport with interrupted and redundant services.
The other recipients under this category were Portland International Airport in Portland ($6 million), Philadelphia International Airport ($15 million), and Syracuse Regional Airport ($8.6 million).
Many grants for allocated to improve airport access in smaller communities, like $6 million to Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla, PR It aims to rehabilitate the existing 1942 commercial terminal building that is a modified aircraft hangar and will include a second-level departure hall and four contact gates for a standard and wide-body aircraft passage and construction of 12,000 sq. ft Customs and Border Protection facility for handling international arrivals.
$950,000 was awarded to Ashley Municipal Airport to construct a new 500-square-foot general aviation terminal building. While Clinton regional airport received $1.7 million
These funds come from the Airport Terminal Program, one of the three aviation projects established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
According to Bradley Mims, the Deputy FAA Administrator, "Today's funding doesn't just improve Airport terminals. It creates opportunities in communities large and small for good paying jobs and the chance to be a part of our country's thriving aviation sector."