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The federal dollars will go to airports in metro and rural areas across the country and will help pay for a variety of upgrades.
The Federal Aviation Administration awarded nearly $1 billion to airports across the country for projects that will improve terminal capacity, efficiency and accessibility, according to a release from the administration.
The money, which was made available in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, will be distributed among 85 airports, the FAA said. This is the first round of grants; under the law, the FAA will annually administer $1 billion in airport terminal grants for five years.
“Americans deserve modern airports that meet the needs of their families and growing passenger demand,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in the release. The “grants will improve airport terminals while also creating good jobs in communities across the country.”
One of the Airport Terminal Program’s goals is to support airports as they work toward meeting energy-efficiency and sustainability goals. Of this first round of funding, 76 grants are slated for such projects.
For example, to decrease heating and cooling needs, Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, was awarded $3.5 million to replace the terminal roof—which has failed in many places—with energy-efficient materials, including improved insulation. Meanwhile, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas was awarded $35 million to construct a zero-carbon electrical central utility plant to aid the airport toward its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Seventy grants were awarded to projects that are planned to improve terminal capacity. Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was awarded $5 million to fund the first phase of a terminal expansion project that will add 27,000 square feet to the airport’s second level, making space for two new gates and expanding a third. The endeavor will also re-orient the Transportation Security Administration Checkpoint to create an additional screening line, improve ADA accessibility and promote airline competition, according to the release.
Money for Smaller Airports, Too
But it’s not just large metropolitan facilities that will receive funding for terminal improvements. Dexter Regional Airport in Dexter, Maine–a town that had just over 2,000 residents in 2019–was awarded $760,000 to replace its 50-year-old 200-square-foot terminal with an 800-square-foot facility that will meet the needs and standards of a modern airport, according to the release.
In total, 47 grants involve improving air-travel access in rural communities and for historically disadvantaged populations.
Meanwhile, two airports—General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport in Illinois and Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina—received grants to replace air traffic control towers that are more than 60 years old.
Applications for the next round of grants are not yet open, but airports interested in learning more about the program and application process can do so at FAA.gov.
Molly Bolan is the assistant editor for Route Fifty.