The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has started directing the first $1bn of a $5bn investment allocated under Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding into the country’s air traffic control system.

This investment will be used to sustain, repair or replace buildings and equipment.

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The US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said: “Air traffic control facilities are the nerve centres of our airspace system, and a big part of the reason why flying is the safest mode of transportation.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will repair, replace and modernise the infrastructure that our air traffic control system relies on to keep the travelling public safe for generations to come.”

Buttigieg also visited one of the 22 air traffic control facilities that would receive funding under the infrastructure law.

The air traffic system includes towers at airports and terminal approach control facilities, which offer air traffic services to aircraft approaching and leaving airspace.

The funding will also cover 22 centres that handle aircraft at high altitudes.

During the first year, the funding will be used to reinforce navigation, weather and tracking equipment, as well as replace power systems.

The infusion will also be used to renovate and replace long-range radar systems and towers.

It will also facilitate improvements to tower approach and departure facilities, along with environmental and safety upgrades.

Furthermore, the funding will support the recruitment of technicians and engineers, as well as upgrades to security systems at all FAA staffed facilities.

FAA deputy administrator Bradley Mims said: “There’s a great deal of work needed to reduce the backlog of sustainment work, upgrades and replacement of buildings and equipment needed to operate our nation’s airspace safely.

“We are going to make sure small and disadvantaged businesses owned by women and minorities have the chance to do this work so we can expand jobs and opportunities across the country.”

The projects that this funding supports will create new opportunities for local suppliers, construction workers and communities nationwide. 

Earlier this week, the FAA agreed to partner with US airports on an Airport Climate Challenge aimed at reaching net-zero emissions goals.