Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport hopes to use $200 million in federal stimulus funds for its automated train project so it can reduce the amount of debt it will issue for the $1.1 billion undertaking.

The effort is “shovel-ready,” airport officials said, but it will vie with transportation projects across the state and the nation for the federal funding.

The first phase of the 4.8-mile project to link passenger terminals with parking areas and rental car facilities is to be completed by 2013, with the entire project operational by 2020. The stimulus funds could cut years from the timetable.

The city had planned to finance the current capital improvement program with a $155 million senior-lien revenue bond issue in 2010, $425 million of bonds in 2010 supported by the passenger facility charge collected by the airport, and another $220 million of PSF bonds in 2012.

However, Sky Harbor cut its capital budget earlier this year and said it would delay $500 million in construction projects by up to five years.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said during his state of the city speech last wek that the first phase of the airport’s train project is expected to create or support 5,900 jobs. The $200 million stimulus would add another 1,000 jobs, he said.

The city’s airport bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s.

Arizona is eligible for $4.4 billion in stimulus funding, with at least $130 million going to Phoenix.

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