By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is awarding nearly $1 billion to 99 U.S. airport terminal projects under a 2021 $1 trillion infrastructure law.
The awards include $10.8 million to Des Moines International Airport in Iowa to replace the 1948 terminal that is operating above capacity and $29 million to Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah for a terminal and concourse redevelopment program. This is the second phase of funding – the FAA awarded nearly $1 billion for airport terminal projects announced for 85 airports last year.
The FAA said the grants will help “meet the growing demand for air travel and invest in key areas to help get travelers in and out of airports more quickly and improve the passenger experience by investing in new baggage systems, larger security checkpoints and improved ground transportation.”
The United States is spending tens of billions to refurbish and expand aging airports that were often mocked. Then Vice President Joe Biden in 2014 compared New York’s LaGuardia airport to “some third-world country.”
Last year, New York celebrated the six-year $8 billion reconstruction of LaGuardia airport.
In November the FAA granted final environmental approval for construction of a new $4.2 billion terminal at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and for an $8.5 billion project at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport that includes a new Terminal 2.
On Monday, O’Hare was awarded $50 million to help rehabilitate and expand passenger access for the 60-year-old Terminal 3.
The Department of Transportation also said Sarasota Bradenton in Florida would get $10 million to help fund new passenger security screening checkpoint lanes and gates, while Savannah/Hilton Head in Georgia won $6.5 million for a 23,000-square foot security screening checkpoint expansion project to help reduce wait times.
The 2021 infrastructure law dedicates $25 billion for airport projects over five years.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Christopher Cushing)