DOT awards $527.8M in grants for nationwide airport upgrades

ConDig (31-May-17).  The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $527.8 million in grants to revamp the infrastructure across 584 airports nationwide.

The grants have been ring fenced under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and includes upgrades to runways, taxiways, airport signage, lighting and marking.

The FAA said it is initially providing discretionary funding to 38 airports based on their high-priority project needs.

Among the largest projects include a $60 million grant to Chicago O’Hare International for a new runway, which includes siting utilities, grading and pavement work. The runway is expected to be commissioned in 2020.

A $18.2 million grant has also been awarded to Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina where a temporary runway will be built and another relocated. The entire project will take 13 months to complete.

Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport in Florida has received $20 million for a runway extension project, while Dillingham Airport in Alaska has been handed $14 million to rebuild a runway, with work set to start this summer and expected to be completed in the winter of next year.

Denver International airport in Colorado will also receive $12.4 million to renovate several airfield projects.

Airports are entitled to a certain amount of AIP funding each year, based on passenger volume. If their capital project needs exceed their available entitlement funds, then the FAA can supplement their entitlements with discretionary funding.

“The Airport Improvement Program helps to maintain our aviation infrastructure and supports safety, capacity, security and environmental improvements,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Meanwhile, the DOT also unveiled $197 million in competitive grant funding to help commuter and intercity passenger railroads meet the December 31 2018 deadline to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) systems to improve safety.

The funding has been earmarked for 17 projects in 13 states and includes $33.75 million to implement the Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) PTC system on the Amtrak-controlled section of the Empire Corridor Hudson Line, a federally designated high-speed rail corridor that spans multiple jurisdictions along its 94 miles from Poughkeepsie to Hoffman, New York.

It also includes $31.63 million to complete installing an Interoperable Electronic Train Management System — which consists of wayside interface units, near side station controls, base radio stations, a back office server and a crew training simulator — on the South Florida Rail Corridor.

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority is a 72-mile-long Tri-Rail commuter line runs through Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami‐Dade Counties.