One Billion Dollars Goes to Infrastructure Grants for 354 U.S. Airports

The U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao recently announced a billion-dollar plan to improve airport safety, travel, and economies around the country. This is the fifth allotment of the multi-billion-dollar FAA AIP airport funding project.

The industry of flying: as nonchalantly as we tend to regard flying (commercially or otherwise), it comes with some serious safety and security considerations. As a part of a larger funding project for U.S. airports, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced an allotment of one billion dollars to 354 airports in 44 U.S. states.

The department will award a total of $986 million in airport infrastructure grants to hundreds of U.S. airports as well as those in Puerto Rico and Micronesia. This is the fifth allotment of the total $3.18 billion in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for airports across the U.S.

The massive funding project has a multi-faceted goal: to improve airport safety, better travel, generate jobs, and facilitate economic opportunities for local communities, explained U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

A handful of specific projects have been selected for airports. Among these are runway reconstruction and rehabilitation; construction of firefighting facilities; noise mitigation; emissions reduction; and maintenance of taxiways, aprons, and terminals.

While efforts like these will undoubtedly make airports that much easier and more comfortable places to travel in, they will ultimately increase airport safety, too. The construction equipment supported by this funding increases the airports’ safety, emergency response capabilities, and capacity, and could support further economic growth within each airport’s region, explains the DOT.

With 3,332 airports and 5,000 paved runways, the airport infrastructure in the U.S. needs constant attention to ensure safety for all. U.S. civil aviation accounts for a whopping $1.6 trillion—yes, trillion—in total economic activity and supports nearly 11 million jobs, according to the FAA’s most recent economic analysis. The people depend on reliable aviation infrastructure, to say the least.

An airport’s activity levels and project needs determines the amount of AIP funding it receives each year. If its capital project needs exceed its available entitlement funds, the FAA can supplement its entitlements with discretionary funding.

Some of the grants involve the following airports and funding figures:

Burlington International Airport in Vermont, $16 million – grant funds will be used to reconstruct Taxiway G.

International Falls Airport in Minnesota, $15.9 million – the airport owner will use the grant to reconstruct Runway 13/31.

Grant County International Airport in Washington, $10 million – the airport owner will reconstruct Runway 14L/32R.

Kenai Municipal Airport in Alaska, $6.5 million – the grant will fund the construction of an aircraft rescue and firefighting training facility.

Lake Elmo Airport in Minnesota, $1.2 million – the grant will fund the reconstruction of Runway 14/32 and Taxiway B.

Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania, $13.4 million – funds will be used to reconstruct Taxiway K.

Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport in Maryland, $3.4 million – the grant will be used to rehabilitate Taxiway A and the air carrier apron to maintain pavement integrity. 

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport in Florida, $19.7 million – the airport will rehabilitate Runway 18/36.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport in Missouri, $1,532,711 – under the Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) program, funds will be used to install four pre-conditioned air and ground power units to reduce emissions on the airport. 

San Francisco International Airport in California, $6.4 million – funds will mitigate noise around the airport by installing noise mitigation measures for residences affected by airport noise.

University of Oklahoma Westheimer Airport in Oklahoma, $5.1 million – funds will be used to rehabilitate Taxiways C, D, and E. 

For a complete listing of the grants, visit https://www.faa.gov/airports/aip/grantapportion_data/.

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