The United States’ Biden-Harris Administration has announced $20m in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding to modernise 29 airport-owned air traffic control towers.

The funding will go to smaller and regional airports to help improve safety, lower costs and support local businesses. It will support important aviation operations such as commercial services, emergency services, agricultural aviation, flight training, and shipping of goods.

“Airports aren’t just travel hubs, they are important job centres and economic engines – especially in smaller communities,” said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We’re proud to deliver these investments, which will help us improve safety at airports and support local economies for decades to come.” 

The grants include $1.5m to Columbus Municipal Airport, for the construction of a new ATC tower to improve the line of sight and better serve one of the fastest growing general aviation airports in the state of Indiana. Joplin Regional Airport in Missouri will receive $860,000 to replace tower equipment along with its aging airfield lighting control and monitoring system. An award of $1.1m for Tyler Pounds Regional Airport in Texas will fund the planning, environmental, and preliminary design for relocating the existing tower, which has line of sight issues due to the extension of the new primary runway. The current facility, which is 75 years old, does not meet existing safety standards. In addition to resolving line of sight and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues, the new location will add an elevator and other Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant accessibility features.

The announcement includes 33 grant awards at 29 airports for Fiscal Year 2023 as part of the FAA Contract Tower Competitive Grant programme. These grants will sustain, construct, repair, improve, modernise, replace or relocate airport-owned towers and install communications equipment.

Image: FAA