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US Government invests in Airports

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced today that the Department of Transportation will award $13 million in airport infrastructure grants to three airports in the state of Louisiana. With this announcement, the Trump Administration has invested a historic $10.8 billion in more than two thousand American airports across the United States for safety and infrastructure improvements since January 2017.

Tampa is one of the airports to benefit from government investment

(United States Geological Survey)

Secretary Chao said that the following airports in Louisiana will receive $13 million of Airport Improvement Program grants:

  • Lafayette Regional/Paul Fornet Field $5.5 million to build a terminal building.

  • Leesville $548,000 to improve a runway safety area.

  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport $7 million to extend a taxiway.

Secretary Chao earlier announced the following airports are among the 108 airports receiving Airport Improvement Program grants:

  • San Jose International Airport will be awarded $10 million for an aircraft rescue and firefighting building

  • Tampa International Airport will be awarded $6 million to improve its terminal building

  • Indianapolis International Airport will be awarded $4.25 million to rehabilitate a runway

  • Gerald R. Ford International in Grand Rapids, Michigan will be awarded $5 million to rehabilitate its terminal building

  • Asheville Regional Airport will be awarded $10 million to rehabilitate its terminal

  • Cleveland International Airport will be awarded $4.25 million to rehabilitate a runway

  • Wilmington International Airport in Delaware will be awarded $3 million for runway rehabilitation

This is part of a $485 million federal investment in America's airports said Chao. The Administration not only supports infrastructure through funding, it is making it possible to deliver these much-needed improvements more quickly. The Department is working hard to streamline the approval process, cut unnecessary red tape and reduce an unnecessary duplication of regulations that do not contribute to safety.

These investments and reforms are especially timely because the U.S. economy is robust, growing by 2.8 percent in the first half of 2019. Employers have added more than 6 million jobs since January 2017. The unemployment rate is still a remarkable 3.6 percent - the lowest in 50 years.

Aviation is an important part of that growth. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. civil aviation supports more than 5%of U.S. gross domestic product; $1.6 trillion in economic activity and nearly 11 million jobs. Because the positive economic conditions are enabling more passengers to travel by air the US government is investing billions of dollars in America's airports, intended to address safer operations, fewer delays, and greater ease of travel for air travellers, said Secretary Chao.

Airports across the USA are extending and improving airport terminals and airside infrastructure to cope with growing demand, including Denver

(Denver Airport)

Airport Improvement Program (AIP) 2019-2021 Supplemental Appropriation

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) regular Airport Improvement Program (AIP) provides more than $3.18 billion annually in entitlement and discretionary grant funds for a network of more than 3,300 eligible airports. On February 15, President Trump signed Public Law 116-6, the 'Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019', which included a Supplemental amount of $500 million for discretionary grants under the AIP statute, 49 U.S.C. Chapters 471 and 475.

The Supplemental funds made available under the FY 2019 Appropriations Act are not subject to normal AIP discretionary formulas or set-asides. However, the Supplemental funds are subject to the limitations of Section 158 of the FAA Re-authorisation Act 2018, (Public Law 115-254) codified at 49 U.S.C. 47115 (j), which includes prioritisation of small airports and expanded terminal eligibility.

The Supplemental funds are available for award through to the end of the financial year 2021. Because of these parameters, the FAA is using their well-established Airport Capital Improvement Plan (ACIP) process to develop a proposed list of eligible and justified projects, which will be executed through the regular AIP process. All Supplemental funds will be awarded by September 30, 2021.

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