With air traffic poised to reach or beat pre-pandemic levels this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is awarding nearly $1 billion from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 99 airports of all shapes and sizes across the country.
The funding will invest in new baggage systems, larger security checkpoints and improved ground transportation. Other projects increase terminal sustainability and improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Several grants will address the needs of aging air traffic control towers. The investments will go to airports in 47 states and two territories. These awards are on top of the $1 billion for Airport terminals announced for 85 airports last year. The vast majority of those projects are under construction.
“Americans deserve the best airports in the world, and with demand for air travel surging back, this funding to improve the passenger experience comes at the right time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These grants will make it faster and easier to check your bags, get through security and find your gate, all while creating jobs and supporting local economies.”
We take a look at the grants that contain a security element:
- $10 million to Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in Sarasota, Fla.: This award funds a portion of a terminal expansion project that adds new passenger security screening checkpoint lanes, five gates and a new energy-efficient central energy plant.
- $6.5 million to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Savannah, Ga.: The security screening checkpoint expansion project consists of adding 23,000 square feet to the south side of the terminal building. This award funds a portion of phase 2 of the project, which includes relocating and expanding from four to six screening lanes to help reduce wait times for travelers.
- $50 million to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ill.: This award helps fund a project to rehabilitate and expand passenger access for the 60-year-old Terminal 3. This includes a reconfigured Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint, improvements to the central passenger corridor, new Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant and family restrooms, and updates to the passenger baggage system to help get travelers in and out of O’Hare more quickly.
- $5 million to Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Columbia, S.C.: This award funds a portion of the terminal expansion project, adding a fourth screening lane to the passenger security-screening checkpoint and bringing the checkpoint up to current TSA standards.
- $16 million to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle, Wash.: This project will relocate Security Checkpoint 1 from the ticketing level to the lower baggage claim level, which will provide additional screening capacity and reduced wait times. The project will include energy-efficient upgrades that meet or exceed all applicable ADA standards.
- $4.3 million to Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport in Lawton, Okla.: The terminal modernization and expansion project includes a building expansion with a new baggage claim and meeter-greeter areas, a new and expanded security checkpoint and a hold room expansion that accommodates two airline gates. This award will provide funding to complete the final phase of the project, which includes an expanded airline counter, office spaces, conveyor baggage handling system for departures, a passenger boarding bridge and curbside area updates that will help provide a smoother experience for travelers getting in and out of the airport.
- $5 million to Bradley International Airport in Winsor Locks, Conn.: This award funds a portion of a terminal expansion project at the airport, including a new in-line checked baggage system and control room, expanded passenger hold rooms, new airline gate space and other modifications for the efficient movement of passengers and baggage.
- $13.3 million to Key West International Airport in Key West, Fla.: This award funds 20,000 square feet of renovations to the existing airside terminal building to expand the baggage claim and passenger security-screening checkpoint. It also funds a portion of a project to construct a new 48,800 square foot Concourse A immediately north of the existing airside terminal building. The new concourse will include seven passenger-boarding bridges.
The funding comes from the Airport Terminal Program, one of three aviation programs created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law provides $1 billion annually for five years for Airport Terminal Program grants. In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided a historic $25 billion to modernize U.S. airport infrastructure.