U.S. airports awarded $986 million in federal grants

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The Federal Aviation Administration awarded $986 million in grants this week in the fifth dispersal from a $3.18 billion program aimed at renovating the nation’s airports to improve safety.

More than 350 airports in 44 states, Micronesia, and Puerto Rico were awarded grants, the majority less than $1 million.

Among the more sizable grants were $78 million to Chicago O’Hare International Airport for runway construction, $40 million to Los Angeles International Airport for taxiway construction and noise abatement, $36.6 million to Ted Stevens Anchorage International for runway reconstruction projects, and $33 million each to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport for runway and taxiway reconstruction and Sullivan County International Airport in Monticello, New York, for runway reconstruction.

California had the most airports to receive grant money, 26, for a total of $126 million.

“This significant investment in airport improvements in California will fund construction and rehabilitation projects that will help maintain high levels of safety in U.S. aviation,” Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a statement.

Projects include runway reconstruction and rehabilitation, construction of firefighting facilities, and the maintenance of taxiways, aprons, and terminals. The construction and equipment supported by these grants will enhance safety and capacity while promoting economic growth in the regions served by each airport, according to DOT.

Airports are eligible for a certain amount of AIP entitlement funding each year based on activity levels and project needs. If their capital project needs exceed their available entitlement funds, the FAA can supplement that amount with discretionary funding.

The country’s airport infrastructure comprised of 3,332 airports and 5,000 paved runways is a significant economic driver for the country, according to an FAA economic analysis, which said that U.S. civil aviation accounts for $1.6 trillion in total economic activity and supports nearly 11 million jobs.

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Infrastructure Los Angeles Department of Airports O'Hare Airport California Illinois