With air traffic set to reach or exceed pre-pandemic levels this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to receive almost $1 billion in new federal aid to improve, streamline and modernize. The funds, awarded through President Joe Biden’s self-touted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will go to 99 airports nationwide.
Among the recipients of the funds are Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock. Other airports benefitting include Chicago’s O-Hare International, Logan International in Boston, Denver International, and Orlando International.
Some funds will help build new terminals, install new jet bridges, and improve energy efficiency. Several projects will also include enhancing terminal ventilation, a key concern for some travelers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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 Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement.
“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.”
Some funding would have been provided through the allocation of funds through the normal federal budget process. Still, billions of dollars for additional spending for airports, roads, bridges, and other construction projects were included in the infrastructure law.
The infrastructure law provides around $1 billion per year for five years as part of the overall $25 billion package to improve air travel across the nation.
Additional funding targeted to help meet the increasing demand for air travel
The additional funding will help airports keep up with the increasing demand for air travel. Much will be used to improve the speed at which travelers can enter and exit airports, build more prominent security checkpoints, improve ground transportation, and put new baggage systems in place. Multiple grants will also address aging air traffic control towers. Two territories and airports in 47 states will receive the funding.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg states, “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. 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.”
“Today’s funding doesn’t just improve airport terminals. It creates opportunities in communities large and small for good-paying jobs and a chance to be part of our country’s thriving aviation sector,” according to A. Bradley Mims, Deputy FAA Administrator.
The funding is on top of the $1 billion committed for airport terminals announced for 85 airports last year. The majority of the projects are currently under construction.
Republicans have long decried the massive price tag of the infrastructure law, with many voting against it.