With air traffic poised to reach or beat pre-pandemic levels this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is awarding nearly $1 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 99 airports of all shapes and sizes across the country.
The funding helps meet the growing demand for air travel and invests in key areas to help get travelers in and out of airports more quickly and improve the passenger experience by investing in new baggage systems, larger security checkpoints and improved ground transportation. Other projects increase terminal sustainability and improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Several grants will address the needs of aging air traffic control towers. The investments will go to airports in 47 states and two territories.
“Americans deserve the best airports in the world, and with demand for air travel surging back, this funding to improve the passenger experience couldn’t come at a more urgent time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These grants will make it faster and easier to check your bags, get through security and find your gate, all while creating jobs and supporting local economies.”
“Today’s funding doesn’t just improve airport terminals. It creates opportunities in communities large and small for good-paying jobs and a chance to be part of our country’s thriving aviation sector,” said Deputy FAA Administrator A. Bradley Mims.
These awards are on top of the $1 billion for Airport terminals announced for 85 airports last year. The vast majority of those projects are under construction.
Many grants contain an element that will build new or expanded terminal facilities. Among them are:
• $10.8 million to Des Moines International Airport in Des Moines, Iowa: This project replaces the 1948 terminal that is beyond its useful life and operating above capacity. Recent data shows aeronautical demand at 109 percent of pre-pandemic levels. This project offers opportunities to strengthen climate resilience and create good paying jobs. This phase includes the preparation and construction of the terminal foundation.
• $29 million to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) in Salt Lake City, Utah: The New SLC is a phased Terminal and North Concourse Redevelopment Program which replaces aging and capacity-constrained facilities. This award funds a portion of Phase 4 of the New SLC and includes 16 new gates as well as up to five permanent hardstand positions in Concourse B.
Many grants contain an element that will make passenger check-in more efficient by improving security-screening areas. Among them are:
• $10 million to Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in Sarasota, Fla.: This award funds a portion of a terminal expansion project that adds new passenger security screening checkpoint lanes, five gates and a new energy-efficient central energy plant. This will help travelers get through security more quickly.
• $6.5 million to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga.: The security screening checkpoint expansion project consists of adding 23,000 square feet to the south side of the terminal building. This award funds a portion of phase 2 of the project, which includes relocating and expanding from four to six screening lanes to help reduce wait times for travelers.
• $50 million to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ill.: This award helps fund a project to rehabilitate and expand passenger access for the 60-year-old Terminal 3. This includes a reconfigured Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint, improvements to the central passenger corridor, new Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant and family restrooms, and updates to the passenger baggage system to help get travelers in and out of O’Hare more quickly.
• $5 million to Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Columbia, S.C.: This award funds a portion of the terminal expansion project, adding a fourth screening lane to the passenger security-screening checkpoint and bringing the checkpoint up to current TSA standards.
• $16 million to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, Wash.: This project will relocate Security Checkpoint 1 from the ticketing level to the lower baggage claim level, which will provide additional screening capacity and reduced wait times. The project will include energy-efficient upgrades that meet or exceed all applicable ADA standards.
Many grants contain an element that will improve passenger experience, including more reliable and faster baggage systems. Among them are:
• $4.4 million to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska: The project increases North Terminal capacity by installing common use equipment and upgrading the baggage handling system.
• $4.3 million to Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport in Lawton, Okla.: The terminal modernization and expansion project includes a building expansion with a new baggage claim and meeter-greeter areas, a new and expanded security checkpoint and a hold room expansion that accommodates two airline gates. This award will provide funding to complete the final phase of the project, which includes an expanded airline counter, office spaces, conveyor baggage handling system for departures, a passenger boarding bridge and curbside area updates that will help provide a smoother experience for travelers getting in and out of the airport.
• $38 million to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Baltimore, Md.: This project will fund a portion of the Concourse A and B expansion project to include baggage system improvements, direct airside connection between Concourses A and B, expanded apron level operations space, larger hold rooms, new concession space and modern restrooms.
• $5 million to Bradley International Airport in Winsor Locks, Conn.: This award funds a portion of a terminal expansion project at the airport, including a new in-line checked baggage system and control room, expanded passenger hold rooms, new airline gate space and other modifications for the efficient movement of passengers and baggage.
• $13.3 million to Key West International Airport in Key West, Fla.: This award funds 20,000 square feet of renovations to the existing airside terminal building to expand the baggage claim and passenger security-screening checkpoint. It also funds a portion of a project to construct a new 48,800 square foot Concourse A immediately north of the existing airside terminal building. The new concourse will include seven passenger-boarding bridges.
Many grants will increase access to other modes of transportation or improve roadways. Those include:
• $1.6 million to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, Ohio: This award helps fund a project to rehabilitate and resurface approximately 2,100 feet of the public transportation tunnel membrane from downtown Cleveland to the Airport terminal building. The work includes rehabilitating wall surfaces, replacing the tunnel ceiling and waterproof membrane in the tunnel tramway, structural repairs and installation of a new drainage system. Cleveland Hopkins is also receiving a second grant of $1.6 million to renovate 13 airport terminal restrooms to meet ADA requirements.
• $8 million to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport in Kenner, La.: This award helps fund the site preparation work and construction of a road between the north terminal and south campus parking and rental car facilities. This project will enhance safety, reduce idling and carbon emissions and connect the terminal to the future transit/passenger rail terminal to help improve access to the airport.
• $7 million to Nashville International Airport in Nashville, Tenn.: The Terminal Access Roadway Improvements project is reconfigures the airport’s access roadway. The project will lengthen and widen the road, enhance safety and improve wayfinding signage.
6 grants are awarded to airports to refurbish their air traffic control towers. Among those are:
• $500,000 to Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, La.: This award funds the replacement of the exterior metal panel rain screen on the tower and will improve resiliency as well as protect the tower’s electrical, mechanical and communication equipment.
• $4.5 million to Rosecrans Memorial Airport in St. Joseph, Mo.: This project reconstructs the existing tower to relocate it above the 100-year flood stage, replace aging infrastructure, achieve compliance with ADA requirements and improve energy efficiency.
• $2 million to Albany International Airport in Albany, N.Y.: This project rehabilitates the air traffic control tower. Work includes upgrading and replacing existing mechanical, electrical and HVAC building systems that have reached the end of their useful life. The project will improve energy efficiency and bring the systems up to current standards.
Many grants contain an element that will increase terminal sustainability. Among them are:
• $6 million to Portland International Airport in Portland, Ore.: This project will convert the heating system at the terminal from boilers fueled by fossil fuels to an electric-powered heat pump. This project will significantly improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollutants, create job opportunities and strengthen climate resilience for the facility.
• $15 million to Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pa.: This project funds a portion of the Terminal Energy Optimization Program. This will replace and upgrade Pre-Condition Air (PCA) units and Ground Power Units (GPUs) at 25 gates. This equipment powers and cools aircraft while at the gate, avoiding the use of aircraft engines. Philadelphia International Airport is also receiving a second grant of $15 million to improve accessibility in the terminal. That grant will fund the renovation and construction of terminal restrooms, adult assisted care, mother's rooms and service animal relief areas.
• $35 million to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in Texas: This award funds the second phase of the installation of the airport’s Zero Carbon Electric Central Utility Plant (eCUP), which will be powered 100% by renewable energy. The eCUP will position DFW to achieve its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, providing the airport with uninterrupted, redundant service. The grant also funds a portion of the Terminal D Energy Efficiency Enhancement program that replaces aging infrastructure with modern systems to significantly improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. This project includes the replacement of the aging HVAC systems, installation of dimmable smart glass in terminal windows, and eco-friendly roof replacement.
• $8.6 million to Syracuse Regional Airport in Syracuse, N.Y.: The airport has started a sustainability initiative to increase energy efficiency and cut emissions in the terminal building. This project replaces the terminal HVAC system, windows and siding with more energy efficient materials.
Many grants contain an element that will go to improving airport access in smaller communities. Among them are:
• $1.7 million to Clinton Regional Airport in Clinton, Mo.: This project reconstructs a replacement terminal building in a new location, eliminating the need to cross taxiways. The project also includes reconstructing the airport entrance road to help residents get to the airport.
• $950,000 to Ashley Municipal Airport in Ashley, N.D.: This award funds a project to construct a new 500 square foot general aviation terminal building for passengers and flight crews. The terminal will include a waiting area, flight planning and restrooms.
• $6 million to Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla, P.R.: This award funds a portion of a project to rehabilitate the existing 1942-era commercial terminal building, which is a modified aircraft hangar. It will add a second-level departure hall with four contact gates for a mix of narrow- and wide-body aircraft and construct a 12,000 square foot Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility to handle international arrivals.
Today’s funding is from the Airport Terminal Program, one of three aviation programs created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law provides $1 billion annually for five years for Airport Terminal Program grants. In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided a historic $25 billion to modernize our country’s airport infrastructure.
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