The U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill late last week quickly generated praise from U.S. airport and aviation leaders as a key step to improving the infrastructure of domestic airports and boosting the prospects for an aviation industry recovery from the pandemic.
The bipartisan infrastructure package was already approved by the U.S. Senate in August and now moves to President Joe Biden for his signature into law. Among other investments, the measure provides $15 billion for infrastructure grants to commercial service, general aviation, and contract tower airports over five years along with $5 billion for a new airport terminal program and $5 billion for FAA facilities and equipment.
“As millions of Americans prepare to ‘pack their patience’ and gear-up for holiday travel, they can add in a large helping of gratitude as Congress has FINALLY passed a long-overdue and very much needed infrastructure bill, ensuring billions of dollars of airport projects can move forward without undue delay,” said Todd Hauptli, president and CEO of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). “These projects will benefit travelers, workers and communities across the country. Nothing is easy in Washington these days, but concrete knows no political affiliation. This is a win for all Americans.”
Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) President and CEO Kevin M. Burke also joined in the praise saying, “With air travel on the rise, America’s airports look forward to getting to work on hundreds of essential improvement projects that will expand the capacity of our terminals and runways, increase the resiliency of our infrastructure, and improve the overall passenger experience. These new investments will help address critical infrastructure needs at our airports, which have become even more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The bill also establishes the office of Chief Travel and Tourism Officer at the Department of Transportation to help coordinate travel and tourism policy across all modes of transportation.
“The passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is both significant and long overdue,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association (USTA). “By making historic investments in our transportation infrastructure now, we can emerge from the pandemic with stronger, more modern and efficient systems that can facilitate a resurgence in travel demand.”