The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced a grant of more than $608m for making the country’s airports safer and more accessible.

Under the first round of the 2022 Airport Improvement Program (AIP), funds will be provided for 441 airports in big cities and small towns across 46 US states, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said: “In communities of all sizes, airports are vital to regional economies, sustaining jobs and getting people and goods where they need to go.

“These AIP grants will help make airports better, safer and more accessible, so they can better serve people in every community for decades to come.”  

As part of the initiative, the FAA will award a grant of $13.46m to Minneapolis-St Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain, Minnesota, for rebuilding the taxiway and apron, as well as extending and upgrading the safety area.

The funds will also be used to replace the airport lighting vault and add taxiway lighting.

The federal agency will award $8.57m to the Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, to improve the Runway 5/23 safety area and airport safety operations.

The FAA will offer a grant of $7.54m for Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Buffalo, New York, and $3.98m for Jackson Municipal Airport in Jackson, Minnesota.

A grant of $18.8m will be offered to Pago Pago International Airport in American Samoa to rehabilitate a runway. 

More than half of these first grants will be awarded to general aviation airports, with 272 grants in amounts ranging from $38,680 to more than $4.6m.

FAA Airports associate administrator Shannetta Griffin said: “We’re investing $608m in airports across America so communities big and small can continue to safely and efficiently connect with the rest of the world.”

Grants will also be awarded to fund projects that demonstrate the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equity and environmental sustainability.

The FAA said that the new funding is being provided in addition to the $20bn investment for the country’s airports under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.