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Airports Get Another $1B Push

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 – the second tranche after passage of the $5 billion infrastructure law passed in November 2021 – is earmarked to help meet the growing demand for air travel. 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, the U.S. Department of Transportation said.

In the latest round of funding, money will be invested 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.

“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,” 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.”

Chicago’s O’Hare International (ORD), Des Moines International Airport (DSM) and Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) are among several airports to receive grants to build new or expanded terminal facilities. ORD received one of the largest award amounts of $50 million for its Terminal C rehabilitation. FAA awarded $10.8 million to DSM to help fund a new terminal, replacing the current terminal built in 1948. SLC was awarded $29 million to help fund Phase 4 of the airport’s ongoing redevelopment, which includes 16 new gates.

Overall the bipartisan infrastructure law provides almost $970 million of federal grants per year over five years through the competitive Airport Terminal Program (ATP) for airport terminal improvement and access projects and air traffic control tower updates, A full list of award winners can be found on the FAA website.