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FAA invests $766 million into grants awarded to U.S. airports

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded more than $766 million in grants to build safer, more sustainable, and accessible airports across the U.S.

FAA invests $85 million to improve airports across Alaska

The FAA has granted funding for projects in 279 airports across 44 states including the additional Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The funding is sourced from the fifth round of FY 2021 Airport Improvement Programme grants, which will pay for these projects.

Steve Dickson, FAA Administrator, said: “These grants will improve safety, sustainability and accessibility at airports across our country.”

Due to the American Rescue Plan put in place by President Biden, the 279 airport projects will not be required to pay the usual local match as nearly $100 million will be provided in the law.

Increase safety and expand capacity

  • Adirondack Regional Airport (SLK): $2.8 million to rehabilitate 6,573ft of the existing Runway 5/23 pavement. This project will install three new pavement condition sensors to help the airport determine when it needs to remove snow and ice, as well as accurately reporting pavement conditions. 
  • Alexandria International Airport (AEX), Alexandria, La.: $3.9 million for runway extension, earthwork, and drainage improvements. Through extending Runway 18/36 it will ensure the airport can maintain existing services and support increased cargo operations and is expected to generate permanent jobs for the community.
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) Glen Burnie, Md.: $12.2 million to move Taxiway F to meet current FAA design standards. The grant funds the first 1,400ft-long phase of the project.
  • Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP), Islip, N.Y.: $6.9 million to repair Taxiways E and F, to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement and to rebuild the taxiway edge lighting and airfield guidance signs to meet FAA standards.
  • Norfolk International Airport (ORF), Norfolk, Va.: $3 million to repair Runway 5/23 and its associated lighting system, to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement and enhance safe airfield operations during low visibility conditions. 

Construction of more sustainable airports

  • Great Falls International Airport (GTF), Great Falls, Mont.: $4.8 million to construct a de-icing pad and facilities to keep de-icing materials separate from storm water. The new infrastructure will improve operational efficiency by allowing aircraft de-icing at a location away from the gate.
  • Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF), Louisville, Ky.: $10.6 million to install a geothermal system in the terminal building to improve the airport’s energy efficiency. The airport will heat and cool the 400,000ft2 terminal building with the new geothermal system, which will replace three existing boilers. The geothermal system will significantly reduce pollutants including ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter associated with the burning of natural gas. 

Improved access for rural communities

  • Atqasuk Edward Burnell Sr. Memorial Airport (ATK), Atqasuk, Alaska: $20.7 million to repair the gravel pavement on Runway 6/24, as well as the aircraft parking area, the taxiway to the parking area, and other airfield improvements. This project will enhance the safety of airport operations and extend the life of the airport infrastructure. Atqasuk, a remote community in northern Alaska, is solely dependent on aviation for the transportation of people, goods, and critical services. 

Increase suitable accessibility for passengers with disabilities

  • Charleston AFB/International Airport (CHS), Charleston, S.C.: $84,000 to buy a passenger lift device to help passengers with disabilities board and deplane aircraft to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.
  • Wilmington International Airport (ILM), Wilmington, N.C.: $16.4 million to expand the terminal building and apron to accommodate increased use of the terminal facilities. The extended terminal will have additional concourse and gate seating, new restaurant and retail space, and expanded TSA checkpoint screening areas. The new areas will be ADA accessible and will meet all ADA requirements.
  • Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA), Fort Wayne, Ind.: $6.1 million to expand the terminal building and improve the existing ticketing area, as well as gates to increase passenger capacity. The terminal expansion will provide a service-animal relief area, lactation rooms, and a children’s play area. Furthermore, it will also meet ADA requirements by purchasing technology called a hearing loop, which allows people with compatible/enabled hearing aid devices to hear the gate announcements in their hearing aids. 

The Airport Improvement Programme receives approximately $3.2 billion in funding yearly. The FAA plans to award more than 1,800 grants in 2021.

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