Chamber Business News

Arizona airports receive federal grants

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently announced a slew of federal grants for airports across the country including four airports in Arizona. These grants are part of a $771 million funding effort from the USDOT to improve infrastructure, complete unfinished jobs and jump start long-awaited projects.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the recipient of $5.7 million to rebuild an area meant to park, load, unload and refuel aircraft. The grant money will be used to maintain a section of Terminal 4, a well-used section of the airport where planes pull up and park at the gate, according to Heather Lissner, a spokesperson for Sky Harbor. This area has actually been under construction since 2016, so a bump in funding looks to help complete the job.

“This project is being completed in phases to minimize impact to the traveling public,” adds Lissner. “With a project of this scope, there is a lot of coordination involved between the City and the airlines to ensure there is minimal disruption to customers.”

Grand Canyon West Airport, a northwestern Arizona airport located just a short drive from Las Vegas, received $1.95 million for multiple projects. The small regional airport will spread the grant money out on five projects:

  • $1 million for heliport rehabilitation
  • $500,000 to install perimeter fencing
  • $195,000 for apron repairs
  • $130,000 for taxiway repairs
  • $125,000 for runway repairs

Another smaller regional airport located in Marana is also being granted more than $5 million in funds. Marana Regional Airport will apply $4.5 million of the grant funds toward repairing an aircraft parking apron and another $1 million will go to repairing a taxiway.

The grants were included in the $771 million infrastructure plan given to airports nationwide from the Federal Aviation Administration. The administration’s Airport Improvement Program funding project has totaled more than $3 billion.

“These Airport Improvement Program grants will ensure that safer, more efficient Phoenix-area airports remain economic engines and vital infrastructure components for their communities,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao in a statement.

Chao’s boss, President Donald Trump, touted a major need for an overhaul and funding for the country’s entire infrastructure system. From roads to bridges, airports to tunnels, there has been plenty of conversation surrounding the state of American infrastructure. This past February, President Trump rolled out a whopping $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. It included $200 billion in federal funding intended to stimulate state and local government spending as well as private investments. But airports are still taking what they can get in the meantime while the plan gets sorted out and continues to move forward.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport saw a government-funded financial injection last month with two grants; one at $9.8 million to extend a taxiway and another $819,000 to update the airport’s master plan study. Additionally, Phoenix Goodyear Airport was given a $6.5 million grant to reconstruct a taxiway.

The major push behind the grants as a whole was to improve the overall safety of the airports as well as efficiency for taxiing airplanes to and from gates.

“[Sky Harbor] Airport consistently works to maintain and improve its facilities for customers. No local tax dollars are used to pay for airport projects,” notes Lissner, “so it is critical for grants to help ensure that further infrastructure improvements are made to keep up with passenger demand.”

Nick Esquer

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