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Money Flying to Airports – Connected World


The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed in 2021, is starting to get its funds spent. Almost $1 billion has been earmarked for renovation and other improvements at 85 airports across the country. The U.S. DoT (Dept. of Transportation’s FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) will award funding to improve terminals of all sizes to increase energy efficiency, promote competition, and provide greater accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Two grants will also be awarded to build new air traffic control towers. 

Historically, the FAA has invested in runways, traffic-control towers, and “back-of-house” infrastructure, areas out of sight from the flying public. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there is dedicated funding to support modernizing airport terminals, the areas that passengers know best.

70 grants contain an element that will expand terminal capacity. Among them are:

  • Pittsburgh Intl. Airport (Pittsburgh, Penn.): $20 million to construct a new 700,000-sq.ft. landside terminal adjacent to the existing airside terminal and includes an improved passenger security screening checkpoint and checked baggage inspection system, baggage handling equipment, U.S. Customs and Border Protection area, and associated public spaces and support functions to serve passengers and meet the operational needs of the airport
  • Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (Chattanooga, Tenn.): $5 million for phase one of a terminal expansion project that will expand its second level by 27,000-sq.ft. to allow for two new gates, one expanded gate, a new set of restrooms, and additional passenger queuing, hold room and circulation space.
  • Huntsville Intl-Carl T Jones Field (Huntsville, Ala.): $10 million to replace aging elevators, escalators, and mechanical equipment; adding one elevator and three escalators; constructing new terminal and concourse restrooms, family restrooms, nursing rooms, and a Service Animal Relief Area; expanding terminal public areas; and ticket counter modifications.
  • Orlando Intl. Airport (Orlando, Fla.): $50 million to construct four gates capable of serving either four wide body or eight narrow body aircraft. The project increases capacity, provides ADA-compliant facilities, achieves LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, and provides for increased competition.

Seventy-six grants contain an element that will increase terminal sustainability. Among them are:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth Intl. Airport (Texas): $35 million to construct a zero-carbon electrical central utility plant to assist the airport in achieving its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Phase 1 will construct the facility and cover two of five terminals.
  • Boise Airport (Boise, Ida.): $960,000 to install energy efficient boilers to support Boise’s clean energy goal. The funds will also be used to replace aging skylight infrastructure with new skylights that will be more energy efficient.
  • Seattle-Tacoma Intl. Airport (Seattle, Wash.): $10 million for Phase 3 of a restroom modernization that will be ADA compliant and include energy efficient lighting, low flow fixtures and refillable water bottle stations and service animal relief areas.
  • Bishop Intl. Airport (Flint, Mich.): $3.5 million to replace the terminal roof, which has failed in many places. It will be replaced with energy efficient materials, including improved insulation. This will result in decreased heating and cooling needs and reduce energy consumption.

Other grants contain an element that will go to improving airport access to historically disadvantaged populations and rural airports. Among them are:

  • Dexter Regional Airport (Dexter, Maine): $760,000 to build a new 800-sq.ft. terminal building replacing the existing 50-year-old 200-sq.ft. terminal building. The existing terminal building is beyond its useful life and does not meet current standards or needs for a basic general aviation terminal building. This project provides access to improved terminal facilities for a disadvantage population area in this rural part of Maine.
  • Washington Municipal Airport (AWG) Washington, Iowa: $129,675 to install a solar power system and associated electrical efficiency enhancements for the general aviation terminal.
  • Chamberlain Municipal Airport (Chamberlain, S.D.): $855,000 to construct a new general aviation terminal. This project will replace an existing annex to a FBO (fixed base operator) building that is currently being used as a general aviation terminal. The existing facility does not meet ADA requirement and does not meet the needs of the airport.
  • Fillmore County Airport (Preston, Minn.): $950,000 to replace an existing facility that was constructed in the 1981 that is in poor condition and does not meet ADA requirements. 
  • Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (Phoenix, Ariz.): $14.4 million to expand and update existing temporary terminal space with a permanent five-gate ADA compliant facility.
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul Intl. Airport (Minneapolis, Minn.): $7.1 million to replace five passenger boarding bridges and relocate one passenger boarding bridge. The new boarding bridges will also be more energy efficient.
  • Austin Bergstrom Intl. Airport (Austin, Texas): $15 million to complete needed capacity expansion immediately and infill for future expansion for the medium hub on the cusp of large hub. The LEED Silver goal projects include energy efficient systems, glass tinting, and sustainable energy construction.

Two grants are awarded to airports to build new air traffic control towers at:

  • General Wayne A. Downing Peoria Intl. Airport (Peoria, Ill.): $15 million to construct a new air traffic control tower. The existing tower is 63 years old, in poor condition, and does not meet ADA standards. The new tower will meet all current building codes including ADA, and will utilize modern, energy efficient HVAC systems and lighting.
  • Asheville Regional Airport (Asheville, N.C.): $15 million to construct a new air traffic control tower. This project replaces an existing 61-year-old air traffic control tower with a new, expanded facility. It is also an enabling project for the expansion and renovation of the existing terminal building.

One grant will increase multimodal transportation access:

  • Gainesville Regional Airport (Gainesville, Fla.): $1.67 million for multi-modal ground transport facility improvements, including lighted, accessible, covered walkways to the commercial airline terminal, a covered passenger waiting area, accessible restrooms, and queuing lanes for taxis and city busses arriving and departing the terminal.

The 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 grants. The law will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, upgrade and expand public transit, modernize the nation’s ports and airports, improve safety, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind.

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