The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is awarding $130m from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to nearly 100 airports across the US to increase safety and expand capacity, including $20m for smaller airports to rebuild or upgrade ATC towers. 

$110m is split between 74 grants to airports in 32 states to modernize airport and runway infrastructure and improve airfield safety, the FAA explained. 

These 74 grants fall into three broad categories: taxiway improvements; rescue and fire fighting; and snow removal. 

Taxiway and apron improvements are the largest grants provided in this tranche of funding. Charlotte Douglas International (CLT) in North Carolina has received $43m for its runway and taxiway extension. But not all grants are quite as large. Omak Airport in Washington State (OMK) will be given $326,000 to repair approximately 600 metres of pavement “that has reached the end of its useful life.”

Meanwhile, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will be given $8.6m for a complete renewal of its fire and rescue facilities. 

The airport, named after the 38th President of the USA who represented the city in Congress for 25 years, will “reconstruct the existing aircraft rescue and fire-fighting building to continue housing eligible vehicles, equipment, supplies, and personnel,” the FAA explained.   

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Unsurprisingly, northern US states will benefit significantly from the snow removal funds, with airports in Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana all receiving upgrades. 

For example, Big Horn County Airport (GEY) in Hardin, Montana, received $41,951 to acquire a new truck and plow equipment. 

“This is another good step in a multi-billion dollar modernization we’re delivering through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make America’s aviation systems safer and more efficient,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

ATC modernisation 

A further announcement of $20m funds from the same Airport Infrastructure Grant was unveiled by Buttigieg to improve air traffic control towers at 20 small and/or regional airports in 17 states. 

FAA Associate Administrator for Airports, Shannetta R. Griffin, explained the wider impact of the investment.

“These investments expand the resources available to airports and help ensure airport traffic control towers across the country and the men and women who work in them are able to effectively do their jobs and communicate with pilots. Not only does this help improve safety at our airports, but it creates good-paying jobs and helps boost local economies,” she said. 

A full list of the ATC towers to be improved, per the FAA: 

  • $2 million to Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport in Arizona: This award funds Airport Traffic Control Tower (ATCT) improvements identified in the ATCT Facility Needs Assessment that was funded by an FY2023 FAA Contract Tower grant. Improvements include fire protection, FAA communications and other equipment, security, electrical, mechanical, interior enhancements, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • $2 million to University of Oklahoma – Max Westheimer Airport in Norman, Oklahoma: This award funds a portion of the construction of a new ATCT to replace the existing facility. The replacement will correct line of sight and security issues, meet ADA compliance, and be fitted with energy efficient HVAC and associated systems.
  • $2 million to Valley International Airport in Harlingen, Texas: This award funds a portion of the construction of for a new replacement ATCT to correct the line of sight, ensure ADA compliance, and address structural integrity issues.
  • $1.3 million to Jefferson City Memorial Airport in Missouri: This award funds a portion of the construction of an ATCT with a 435-square-foot floor inside the tower to replace the 1973 temporary tower facility.
  • $1.29 million to Bend Municipal Airport in Oregon: This award funds a portion of the construction of a new ATCT. 
  • $1.2 million to Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York: This award funds the rehabilitation of the existing 40-year-old ATCT. The project will include replacement of the roof, lighting, flooring, window shades, and aged communication and recording equipment. The project will also renovate the restroom and break rooms, improve the electrical and security systems, and repair windows.
  • $1.2 million to Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania: This award funds phase II of rehabilitating the existing 43-year-old ATCT and includes the installation of a new elevator.
  • $1.1 million to Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus, Mississippi: This award funds the rehabilitation of the existing 20-year-old ATCT to include the elevator, roof, mechanical, lighting, windows, interior and exterior finishes, and building systems.
  • $1.05 million to Mankato Regional Airport in Minnesota: This award funds the first phase for an ATCT construction to include the required National Environmental Policy Act Environmental Assessment, and architectural and engineering design.  
  • $1 million to Kissimmee Gateway Airport in Orlando, Florida: This award funds the design of a replacement ATCT to meet the current FAA visual performance criteria increasing the eye height from 43 feet to 85 feet.
  • $1 million to Albuquerque Double Eagle II Airport in New Mexico: This award funds the rehabilitation and upgrade of the ATCT to include a new HVAC system, new roof, addition of LED lighting fixtures, replacement of elevator controls and equipment, replacement of cab solar shades, replacement of the emergency generator, and reconfiguration of controller consoles.
  • $850,000 to Cheyenne Regional Airport in Wyoming: This award funds ATCT building improvements including water intrusion sealant and prevention, door and window replacement, HVAC and electrical improvements and other general repairs. 
  • $750,000 to Olive Branch Airport in Mississippi: This award funds the rehabilitation and upgrade of the existing ATCT including communication equipment, roof, windows, shades, and airfield lighting control.
  • $675,000 to Cobb County International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia: This award funds the replacement of equipment in the existing ATCT on the tower minimum equipment list that have reached the end of their useful lives. 
  • $620,628 to Victoria Regional Airport in Texas: This award funds the upgrading of critical communications and weather reporting equipment in the existing ATCT.
  • $500,000 to Fullerton Municipal in California: This award funds the rehabilitation of portions of the ATCT with improvements including an ADA compliant stairway, restroom upgrade, sound insulation, IT/security, lighting, and electrical and utility upgrades.
  • $500,000 to Ardmore Municipal Airport in Oklahoma: This award funds the renovation of the existing ATCT to include new windows, HVAC system, and communications equipment. 
  • $360,000 to Caldwell Executive Airport in Idaho: This award funds the preliminary design and environmental study for a new ATCT. 
  • $350,000 to Battle Creek Executive Airport at Kellogg Field in Michigan: This award funds improvements to the existing ATCT to include upgrading communication equipment and installing shades for all tower cab windows.
  • $254,372 to Lawrence J. Timmerman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: This award funds improvements to the existing ATCT to include replacement windows, exterior doors, metal facade panels and insulation.