The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award more than $627 million in infrastructure and safety projects to 390 airports throughout the US, Puerto Rico and the Federated States of Micronesia. The funding will be allocated through the FY2021 Airport Improvement Program (AIP).
AIP projects promote safety, efficiency, environmental stewardship, infrastructure and security at the nation’s top airports. Describing the grants as “an investment in safety and continued aviation,” FAA Administrator, Steve Dickson added, “every airport in every community plays a vital role in our air transportation system.”
Meanwhile US Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg noted that airports offer a lifeline for the communities they serve. “Modernising our infrastructure in a way that creates jobs, ensures safety, combats climate change, and fosters equity is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration. These Airport Improvement grants will help airports across the country better serve their communitieis.”
Examples of regional airport projects receiving grants include Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (pictured) which will receive more than $19.5 million for the reconstruction of its Runway 08/26. The project has been described as critical due to the poor pavement conditions, which have reduced payload capacity of aircraft using the runway by 25%. The project is scheduled to be complete in 2025.
Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport in Colorado meanwhile is receiving more than $1 million to expand and improve the terminal to allow the airport to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
In Alaska Newtok Airport is receiving more than $21 million for the construction of a new airport to replace the existing facility. The Newtok Alaska Native community which comprises 374 residents is relocating to higher ground alongside the new airport, as the ground surrounding the existing airport and village is eroding. The residents depend solely on aviation to transport people, goods, mail, medicine and other essential services.
Other projects include a $15.8 million runway reconfiguration at Willow Run Airport in Michigan, the construction of an apron and taxi lanes at Salt Lake City Airport in Utah, and the construction and rehabilitation of an expanded hangar building at Sawyer International Airport in Michigan.