The Asheville Regional Airport will get $7.5 million in federal stimulus money to improve its terminal, a release from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.
The money is part of $12 million that the massive $787 billion package designates for airport upgrades in North Carolina. The rest of the money will go to runway lights at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
The airport has been in the process of trying to modernize its terminal for several years, but overall declines in the airport industry have put the future of such projects into question — though the Asheville airport has added flights and hasn’t seen the same large drop-off in passengers that many other airports have.
The full release is below.
— David Forbes, staff writer
U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $12 Million in Economic Recovery Funds for Asheville Regional and Raleigh-Durham International Airports
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood today announced that North Carolina will receive $12 million under the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
“Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act we are creating jobs in North Carolina and across the country while investing in the long-term safety and economic vitality of our airports,” said Secretary LaHood.
The Federal Aviation Administration will provide $12 million to North Carolina for the following projects:
· Asheville Regional Airport will receive $7.5 million to improve the terminal building
· Raleigh-Durham International will receive $4.5 million to rehabilitate the runway lighting on 05L/23R.
About 3,400 airports designated as part of the national airport system are eligible to receive ARRA funds. The FAA is moving swiftly to work with airport sponsors to ensure eligible projects have completed or nearly completed, design and planning requirements.
Under ARRA, the FAA received $1.1 billion to allocate to qualified airports on a discretionary basis. That funding will be distributed based on a project priority system that addresses airport safety and security, infrastructure, runway safety, increased capacity, and mitigation of environmental impacts.
Secretary LaHood said the Obama Administration is committed to getting ARRA money into the economy as quickly as possible. He noted that President Obama signed the ARRA into law on February 17, less than one month after taking the oath of office. Less than two weeks later, on March 3, LaHood joined President Obama and Vice President Biden at an historic announcement at the U.S. Department of Transportation to mark the release of $26.6 billion to the states and localities for highways, roads and bridges. The release of funds came eight days earlier than required by law.
On March 5, Secretary LaHood joined Vice President Biden and Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to announce the availability of $8.4 billion for transit infrastructure. On March 12, Secretary LaHood announced that Pittsburgh International and Allegheny County Airports had received the first funding allocations for airport infrastructure projects, and on March 13, Vice President Biden announced that DOT made $1.3 billion available to Amtrak for capital and security improvements. On March 26, Secretary LaHood announced more than $28 million for Arizona airports.
Secretary LaHood noted that in early February, prior to the passage of the ARRA, he had established a team within the Department of Transportation to ensure that economic recovery funding is rapidly made available for transportation infrastructure projects and that project spending is monitored and transparent.