Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded almost $1 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure law to meet the growing demand for air travel and improve passenger experience.
The funding, which is from the Airport Terminal Program, will be divided among 99 airports of “all shapes and sizes” across the country.
Terminal Upgrade Funding
The Airport Terminal Program is one of three aviation programs created by the bipartisan infrastructure law, providing $1 billion annually for five years for airport terminal grants. In total, the law is anticipated to provide a historic $25 billion to modernize the country’s airport infrastructure.
Some of the projects will invest in new baggage systems, larger security checkpoints and improved ground transportation. Other projects increase terminal sustainability and improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities, while 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 couldn’t come at a more urgent 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.”
Two airports anticipate using their funding to build new or expanded terminal facilities, including:
$10.8 million to Des Moines International Airport in Des Moines, Iowa, to replace the 1948 terminal that is beyond its useful life and operating above capacity; and
$29 million to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) in Salt Lake City, Utah, to replace aging and capacity-constrained facilities, including 16 new gates as well as up to five permanent hardstand positions in Concourse B.
Other projects include:
O’Hare International Airport (Chicago): $50 million to rehabilitate and expand passenger access for the 60-year-old Terminal 3. This includes a reconfigured Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint, improvements to the central passenger corridor, new Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant and family restrooms, and updates to the passenger baggage system to help get travelers in and out of O’Hare more quickly;
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (Baltimore): $38 million to fund a portion of the Concourse A and B expansion project to include baggage system improvements, direct airside connection between Concourses A and B, expanded apron level operations space, larger hold rooms, new concession space and modern restrooms;
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (Kenner, Louisiana): $8 million to fund the site preparation work and construction of a road between the north terminal and south campus parking and rental car facilities. This project will enhance safety, reduce idling and carbon emissions and connect the terminal to the future transit/passenger rail terminal to help improve access to the airport;
Rosecrans Memorial Airport (St. Joseph, Missouri): $4.5 million to reconstruct the existing tower to relocate it above the 100-year flood stage, replace aging infrastructure, achieve compliance with ADA requirements and improve energy efficiency; and
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) (Texas): $35 million for the second phase of the installation of the airport’s Zero Carbon Electric Central Utility Plant (eCUP), which will be powered 100% by renewable energy.
“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,” said Deputy FAA Administrator A. Bradley Mims.
The latest awards are on top of the $1 billion for airport terminals announced for 85 airports last year. The FAA reports that the majority of those projects are under construction.
The FAA also offers an interactive map to show funding amounts for the first two years of the bipartisan infrastructure law, as well as how those funds are being invested.
In July last year, the White House announced that nearly $1 billion in funding through the Airport Terminal Program provided by the bipartisan infrastructure law would be awarded to airports for capacity, sustainability, energy efficiency and accessibility improvements across 85 airports.
To qualify for a grant, Forbes reported that airports had to agree to start their project’s construction by the beginning of the next fiscal year. In total, the U.S. government received 658 applications across 532 airports.
Of the grants to be awarded, 70 would expand terminal capacity, 76 contained an element that would increase terminal sustainability, 73 were slated to create greater access to travelers with disabilities and 47 would go to improving airport access to historically disadvantaged populations and rural airports.
In addition, two of the awarded grants would also be used to build and improve new air traffic control towers.
Some of the projects awarded last year included:
Pittsburgh International Airport (Pittsburgh): $20 million to construct a new 700,000-square-foot landside terminal adjacent to the existing airside terminal and includes an improved passenger security screening checkpoint and checked baggage inspection system, baggage handling equipment, U.S. Customs and Border Protection area, and associated public spaces and support functions to serve passengers and meet the operational needs of the airport;
Orlando International Airport (Orlando, Florida): $50 million to construct four gates capable of serving either four wide-body or eight narrow-body aircraft. The project also increases capacity, provides ADA-compliant facilities, achieves LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and provides for increased competition;
Bishop International Airport (Flint, Michigan): $3.5 million to replace the terminal roof, which has failed in many places, with energy-efficient materials, including improved insulation;
Chamberlain Municipal Airport (Chamberlain, South Dakota): $855,000 to construct a new general aviation terminal;
Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (Phoenix, Arizona): $14.4 million to expand and update existing temporary terminal space with a permanent five-gate ADA-compliant facility;
General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport (Peoria, Illinois): $15 million to construct a new air traffic control tower that meets all current building codes, including ADA, and that will utilize modern, energy-efficient HVAC systems and lighting; and
Gainesville Regional Airport (Gainesville, Florida): $1.67 million to improve a multi-modal ground transport facility. This project consisted of multi-modal ground transport facility improvements, including lighted, accessible, covered walkways to the commercial airline terminal, a covered passenger waiting area, accessible restrooms, and queuing lanes for taxis and city busses arriving and departing the terminal.
A full list of the 2022 awarded projects and more information on the funding program can be viewed here.