Funding to Improve Airport Runway Safety


New funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law is headed to 82 airports across the country to improve runway safety and lighting systems.

According to the release from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the awarded projects will purchase and install new lighting for runways and taxiways to keep operations safe during reduced and low visibility and night conditions.

“We’re acting to improve lighting systems at 82 airports, an important part of keeping aircraft moving safely, no matter the time of day or weather,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

“These runway and taxiway lighting investments are just the latest way President Biden is improving our airports, which will benefit Americans now and for decades to come.” 

Secretary Buttigieg reported the news at Denver International Airport, where the airport is upgrading its lighting, reconstructing a runway and removing a hot spot. DIA also recently opened two new concourses last year as part of a major expansion project.

Projects announced in the $201 million of funding include: 

  • $30.6 million to Denver International Airport in Colorado to reconstruct Runway 17L/35R and Taxiway P lighting systems;
  • $3.4 million to Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford, Oregon, to install lighted visual aids used to indicate a temporary closed runway that meet Federal Aviation Administration standards for use on the airfield to prevent runway incursions, a new lighting vault to meet additional airfield lighting needs, and to reconstruct the existing Runway 14/32 lighting system;
  • $2.6 million to Boeing Field/King County International in Seattle to install elevated runway guard lights for Runway 14R/32L to enhance safety; and
  • $2 million to Dickinson/Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport in North Dakota to install replacement Runway 7/25 end approach path identifier lights, making the airport more accessible by improving approaches to the runway ends and reconstructing Taxiway D lighting.

The full list of awarded projects can be found here.

“Ensuring our pilots can safely navigate runways and taxiways with adequate and improved lighting systems is a top priority as we continue our focus on runway safety initiatives,” said Shannetta R. Griffin, P.E., Associate Administrator for Airports.

Other Recent FAA Funding

In March, the FAA 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.

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.

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. 

This funding builds on the nearly $1 billion in funding through the Airport Terminal Program provided by the bipartisan infrastructure law in July last year that would be awarded to airports for capacity, sustainability, energy efficiency and accessibility improvements across 85 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.

Then, the following month, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it will award $20 million from the bipartisan infrastructure law to upgrade and build control towers in small towns and at regional airports.

The funding is expected to go to 29 airport-owned traffic control towers across the U.S. to help improve safety, lower costs and support local businesses. Additionally, it will support important aviation operations such as commercial services, emergency services, agricultural aviation, flight training and shipping of goods.

The awarded grants are part of the FAA Contract Tower Competitive Grant program, which aims to sustain, construct, repair, improve, modernize, replace or relocate airport-owned towers and install communications equipment.

The full list of awarded grants can be found here. A visual data representation of the airports receiving funding can be found here.


Tagged categories: Airports; Aviation; Department of Transportation (DOT); Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); Funding; Government; Grants; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Projects - Commercial; Safety

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.