St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) has been awarded a total of $19.75 million in Federal Aviation Administration grant funds for the rehabilitation of its primary runway 18-36.

The project involves the asphalt pavement rehabilitation and new edge lighting. The airport said these works are essential to safe operations at the airport due to weathering and cracking over time. The project is expected to be complete by spring 2021.

The funding total includes $11.58 million in Discretionary Funds and $8.16 million in Entitlement Funds. PIE received $900,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation for the project design and construction, and the airport is committing $3.43 million to the project’s $24.1 million total cost.

“PIE generates over $1.04 billion in runway-dependent economic impact annually,” commented airport director Tom Jewsbury. “The $11.58 million is the largest competitively awarded Discretionary Grant in PIE’s history. As we continue to break passenger records year after year, first and foremost are safe operations at PIE. The airport continues to do an excellent job in managing its capital programs and maximizing its financial sustainability. We appreciate Senator Rubio’s and Congressman Crist’s leadership in securing these funds.”

Senator Marco Rubio said he was glad to see the grant awarded to the airport, while Congressman Charlie Crist said: “St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is a vital economic engine for our region and keeps tourism thriving in Pinellas County. Local businesses, residents, and travellers all benefit from these federal dollars to assist PIE with their important expansion and modernization projects.”

The acceptance of the FAA grant is scheduled for the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners agenda on 24 September.

Over the past year the airport has been undertaking a variety of projects to modernise and expand the airport, including parking lot improvements which are set to be completed in Spring 2020. Meanwhile, the reconstruction of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

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