These U.S. Airports Just Received Millions for Major Upgrades

Funding has been set aside for large-scale improvements at dozens of U.S. hubs.

These U.S. Airports Just Received Millions for Major Upgrades

Denver International Airport will receive $60 million in grants.

Photo by Shutterstock

The Biden administration is giving nearly $1 billion to 85 airports to expand and upgrade terminals and other facilities, using money approved in last year’s huge infrastructure bill.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the projects will help meet future demand for travel and make flying safer and more efficient.

“I don’t think anybody could look at airports across America today and say that the existing system and existing levels of funding have been adequate,” Buttigieg told reporters.

The grants announced Thursday are the first installment of $5 billion for airport projects that were included in an infrastructure bill that Congress approved and President Joe Biden signed last November.

The largest of the Federal Aviation Administration grants include:

  • Boston’s Logan International Airport: $62 million to replace aging infrastructure including roadways, upgrade Terminal E, and expand the baggage claim area
  • Denver International Airport: $60 million to improve the terminal, increase energy efficiency, increase capacity to 100 million passengers annually, and replace the baggage handling system
  • Orlando International Airport in Florida: $50 million to expand Terminal C, increase passenger capacity, and achieve LEED certification
  • Dulles Airport outside Washington, D.C.: $49.6 million to build a new 14-gate concourse
  • Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport: $35 million to construct a zero-carbon electrical plant to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030
  • Pittsburgh International Airport: $20 million to build a new 700,000-square-foot terminal next to the old one
  • Austin Bergstrom International Airport: $15 million towards passenger capacity expansion efforts and energy efficient systems
  • Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina: $15 million to construct a new air traffic control tower
  • Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport: $14.4 million to upgrade an existing temporary terminal to a permanent five-gate terminal
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: $10 million for a restroom modernization project

The FAA said 532 airports submitted applications for 658 projects that, if all had been granted, would have totaled more than $14 billion.
In the past, federal funds have gone largely into runways, taxiways, and towers while airports paid for terminal upgrades with money they get from passenger facility charges, or PFCs—up to $4.50 per flight that is tacked onto every airline ticket.

Buttigieg said it is fine to spend taxpayer money on projects that were generally funded by passenger fees in the past because “there is a need out there; taxpayers expect it and want it.”

Congress could consider raising ticket taxes for airport projects next year. Airports want to raise the fees, but airlines don’t.

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