Governor Gretchen Whitmer and US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have announced three Michigan airports have been awarded in total $63 million through US Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Nearly $1 billion in grants will expand capacity at the nation’s airport terminals, increase energy efficiency, promote competition, and provide greater accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Building better airport terminals will improve customer experiences, move goods through the economy more efficiently to lower prices and enhance US competitiveness.
“Michigan’s airports are critical to the state’s economy and support $22 billion in economic development across the state,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "These three federal grants, totalling $63 million in funding, will improve the customer experience at Michigan’s major airports, help small businesses transport goods, and enhance domestic competitiveness. We are grateful to our federal partners for getting this done and will continue working to grow Michigan’s economy, create good-paying jobs, and invest in every region of the state."
“This investment in Michigan’s airports will not only serve as an economic development driver but will also improve the travel experience for millions of passengers,” said Zach Kolodin, Michigan’s Chief Infrastructure Officer and Director of the Michigan Infrastructure Office. “Airport terminal enhancements like improved passenger bridges and bathrooms will make the customer experience for travellers easier and more convenient.”
Appropriated by the Michigan Legislature at a future date, this funding will go through the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) to the following airports:
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) will receive $49.6 million in funding that will allow for the replacement of the passenger boarding bridges that improve energy efficiency and enhance accessibility for individuals with access and functional needs. Existing public restrooms throughout the airport will be updated to enhance accessibility for individuals with access and functional needs. The restroom upgrades also will include the addition of gender inclusive restrooms. All restroom fixtures will be replaced with energy efficient fixtures. In addition, new baggage claim belts will be installed to improve the baggage handling system and enhance energy efficiency. Over 30 million passengers use DTW annually.
As part of the ongoing terminal gate expansion project, Gerald R Ford International Airport (GRR) in Grand Rapids, $8.7 million in funding will be used to install eight new passenger boarding bridges. The new boarding bridges will provide enhanced accessibility for all passengers by eliminating the need for ground-level loading. These bridges will also improve energy efficiency with pre-conditioned air and auxiliary power. Over 3 million passengers use GRR annually.
Bishop International Airport (FNT) in Flint will receive $3.5 million in funding to replace the existing terminal roof, which has reached the end of its useful life and will be replaced with energy efficient materials, including improved insulation. The new roof will decrease heating and cooling needs and in turn, reduce energy consumption. Over 300,000 passengers use FNT annually.
Historically, the FAA has invested in runways, traffic-control towers, and back-of-house infrastructure. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there is dedicated funding to support modernizing airport terminals across the country.
The press release added: “The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, makes a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. It will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, upgrade and expand public transit, modernise the nation’s ports and airports, improve safety, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably to help everyone get ahead for decades to come.”
Photo: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport