Biden administration announces $970 million in grants for airport improvements across the US

FILE - Travelers wait to go through security check point at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Aug. 31, 2023. The Biden administration is giving airports $970 million for improvements in terminals including things like wider concourses, new baggage-handling systems, and more gates. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
FILE - Travelers wait to go through security check point at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Aug. 31, 2023. The Biden administration is giving airports $970 million for improvements in terminals including things like wider concourses, new baggage-handling systems, and more gates. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

The Biden administration said Thursday it is providing $970 million for improvements at 114 airports around the country, with work ranging from wider concourses and new baggage-handling systems to new terminals at some small airfields.

Administration officials said the money comes from a $5 billion grant program to modernize airport terminals.

The largest sum, $50 million, will go to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida for a project to connect terminals behind the security checkpoints and provide new retail space and other amenities.

O'Hare International Airport in Chicago will get $40 million to widen a concourse, reconfigure a security checkpoint and other changes. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia, San Francisco International and Los Angeles International will receive amounts ranging from $31 million to $36 million.

A Federal Aviation Administration official said there were more than 600 applications and requests totaled $14 billion.

In Tennessee, the FAA is providing $5 million to the Nashville International Airport to pay for a portion of the lengthening and widening of the Terminal Access and Circulation Road from three to six lanes. Another $765,000 is going to the Tri-Cites airport in Blountville to fund part of the cost of widening the Terminal Concourse Connector and improve buildings at the airport.

  photo  FILE - Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks in the Indian Treaty Room on the White House complex in Washington, Nov. 27, 2023. The Biden administration is giving airports $970 million for improvements in terminals including things like wider concourses, new baggage-handling systems, and more gates. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
 
 

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will receive a $4 million grant to rehabilitate and expand up to six public restrooms in the Central Passenger Terminal Complex.

The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority was not included in the latest list of FAA-funded projects, but the Chattanooga airport is preparing to open a $28 million expansion of its passenger concourse next month. Airport officials said 90% of the expansion cost for the Chattanooga terminal was covered by the Federal Aviation Administration or Lovell Field's existing passenger facility charge, a fee that is placed on each ticket.

The Biden administration has gone to great lengths to promote new and proposed protections for air travelers -- seeing airlines as an easy target of consumer frustration.

President Joe Biden has railed against fees that some airlines charge to let families sit together. The Transportation Department published an online "dashboard" to prod airlines to commit to improving customer service.

"Another part of that better travel experience is to invest in our physical infrastructure, to improve the airports," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in discussing the airport grants with reporters.

Last month, the Transportation Department announced $244 million in grants for improvements to other airport facilities including runways and taxiways.

  photo  FILE - An American Airlines aircraft at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on June 7, 2021. The Biden administration is giving airports $970 million for improvements in terminals including things like wider concourses, new baggage-handling systems, and more gates. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
 
 

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