DOT to Give Airports $1 Billion for Upgrades

By JACOB FISCHLER
Alaska Beacon
    The Biden administration will send close to $1 billion to airports across the country to upgrade terminal facilities, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Thursday.
    The $970 million in grants will go to 144 airports in 44 states and three territories. Earmarked for terminal improvements, Buttigieg and other administration officials said the grants would fund projects to improve the passenger experience and create jobs.
Details about the Alaska funding.
    Alaska airport upgrades funded through the FAA grants, the White House announcement said, are:
    Sitka Rocky Gutierrez airport would receive $2.15 million to remodel and expand the terminal, including making changes to the Transportation Security Administration screening area and adding a passenger boarding bridge.
    Ketchikan International Airport would receive $2 million to expand the terminal for air taxi operations, out of a total project cost of $29 million.
    Fairbanks International Airport would receive $2.38 million to replace the aging passenger boarding bridge at gate 3 of the commercial terminal building.
    Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport would receive two grants. One, for $1.85 million, would pay to install a new passenger boarding bridge at gate B4. The other, for $1.52 million, would pay for 110 audio and visual monitors/stations to better serve Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
    The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities applied for the funding, the Alaska .
    The administration has worked to improve the air travel experience, Buttigieg told reporters Wednesday.
    “Part of that better travel experience is to invest in our physical infrastructure to improve the airports that represent the beginning and end of every passenger’s journey and airports that are a key economic engine for workers who show up there every day and communities that rely on those airports to sustain their connectedness and their competitiveness,” Buttigieg said.
    The grants will fund a variety of projects, ranging from building new terminals or concourses to making bathrooms bigger, Buttigieg said.
    The funds also would help improve baggage systems and security screening areas, expand public transit options, build solar energy infrastructure and increase accessibility, he said.
    “This funding is real,” said Shannetta Griffin, the Federal Aviation Administration’s deputy administrator for airports. “We are changing lives.”
    Buttigieg and Griffin briefed reporters on the grant selections on the condition their comments not be made public until Thursday.
    The FAA received more than 600 applications for grants asking for a total of $14 billion, Griffin said.

Infrastructure law
    The funding is authorized by the infrastructure law enacted in 2021. The grant selections this week represent the third round of roughly $1 billion of annual grant funding under the program. The law’s airport terminal program provides $5 billion over 5 years.
    The total costs for the projects selected this year are more than $10.3 billion, meaning the grants announced Thursday cover an average of about 9.4% of total project costs.
    Separate funding is available for aviation operations. The infrastructure law provides $25 billion in funding for airports, including the terminal grants.
    Buttigieg highlighted grants to small airports in Appleton, Wisconsin, and on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation that spans portions of North Dakota and South Dakota.
    The Appleton International Airport will receive $3.4 million for a $78 million overhaul that includes adding four gates, updating buildings and improving access.
    The Standing Rock Airport will receive $700,000 out of $800,000 needed to build a new terminal building near Fort Yates, North Dakota. The general aviation airport, used for recreation and medical emergencies, does not have a terminal.
    The largest grant in this year’s selections will go to Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida. A $50 million grant will be put toward a $221 million terminal connector.
    Large grants will also go to major hubs, including $40 million for Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, $36 million for the Phoenix airport, $35 million for Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia and $26.6 million for Denver’s airport.
    Buttigieg will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday to announce a $27 million grant for that city’s airport to replace passenger boarding bridges.
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Jacob Fischler covers federal policy and helps direct national coverage as deputy Washington bureau chief for States Newsroom. Based in Oregon, he focuses on Western issues.

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20 YEARS AGO

April 2004

Photo caption: Grace Larson holds one of the Easter breads she baked for sale at the annual Rainy Day Bazaar Saturday at Centennial Hall. Hundreds turned out for the event, sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard Spouses and Women’s Association.

50 YEARS AGO

April 1974

All youngsters from walking age on up to age 12 are invited to an Easter egg hunt Sunday. Ages 5 and under meet at the Centennial Building; ages 6-9 in front of the visitor center at Totem Park; and ages 10-12 at Totem Park. Some $150 in cash and merchandise prizes will be offered.

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