Federal funding a boon for airport improvement projects
The recent passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill authorized a staggering $1.2 trillion for the rebuilding of America’s critical infrastructure. Airport officials throughout the country were among the first this month to begin receiving billions of the new revenue. The funding, however, arrives with earmarks for all types and sizes of projects that share the same objectives – to modernize, refurbish, enhance, and rebuild public infrastructure assets.
The state of Florida received $240 million, the third-largest award for any state. Of the $21.7 million earmarked for Tampa International Airport, some of the funds will go toward a master plan study to reevaluate all areas requiring improvement. One of the largest anticipated initiatives is a $50.9 million project that will include design, rehabilitation, and construction of the airport’s automated people mover.
Texas ranked second on the list of states receiving the largest amount of federal funding. The city of San Antonio will receive funding to bolster a sweeping re-evaluation of its airport needs. The city’s Aviation Department has indicated an interest in partnering with a private-sector airport planning services firm. That planning phase has a budget of $2.5 million, and numerous large projects are under consideration.
One of the larger individual airport awards in the recent disbursement by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was a $33 million grant to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Michigan. The funding will allow the Wayne County Airport Authority to pursue partnerships with private-sector contractors for a range of projects such as a $19 million initiative to reconstruct and partially relocate Taxiway Z. Other large purchases will include $7 million for security camera equipment and a $10 million purchase of a new baggage handling system.
Airports in Alaska received a total of $80 million from the recent FAA disbursement. Anchorage’s Ted Stevens International Airport was awarded $17 million for safety and capital improvement projects. This funding doubled the annual construction budget for the airport, and some plans that are under consideration are related to the accommodation of more international routes.
The FAA awarded the largest grant in Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia International Airport. Officials there received $30.7 million to use for a $1.2 billion cargo handling expansion program. Some of the new funding also will be consolidated with other revenue for a $40 million West Cargo Development project slated for 2022.
The Memphis International Airport in Tennessee received $17.3 million in FAA funds for runway and taxiway maintenance work as well as new programs for airport noise prevention. The funding also will finance environmental consulting services related to water treatment and testing services. The services contract is expected to be awarded in early spring 2022, following a pre-proposal conference in January.
In Kansas, FAA funding has galvanized work on executive airport facilities. In particular, the executive airport in Johnson County will be able to complete all three stages of its $15.5 million airport improvement program. The airport also will issue solicitations to rebuild its Taxiway Bravo in 2022 for an estimated cost of $5.7 million.
Wisconsin’s Appleton International Airport was awarded $3 million in grant funding. Airport officials will use the funding to enhance its commercial aviation ramp. The current ramp, constructed over 25 years ago, cannot accommodate larger-sized aircraft so this will fall into the modernization category of projects.
California, because of its numerous airports, received $295 million – the largest amount of FAA funding for any state. Significant portions of the revenue will flow to renovations underway already as well as other planned new projects at Los Angeles International and also at San Diego International. However, $3.7 million will fund significant improvement at the smaller-scaled Santa Barbara Airport.
The FAA’s award of $1.56 million for MBS International Airport in Freeland, Michigan, will allow another smaller sized airport to begin a design phase in 2022 for a $4.5 million project to replace its maintenance building.
As these examples suggest, FAA funding will result in numerous projects of all types at airports throughout the country in 2022. Private sector contractors will be in high demand for all the projects. Many of the larger initiatives will be delivered through alternative funding models such as public-private partnerships and through delivery models that attract incentivized private-sector investors.
Technology, environmental services, and large equipment purchases will be common denominators in almost all projects.