Pennsylvania airports receive critical upgrades from Biden infrastructure law - TAI News
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End of Concourse A at Pittsburgh International Airport (Wikimedia Commons).

The Federal Aviation Administration announced on May 31 that Pittsburgh International Airport would be one of 90 sites in 34 states that had been selected for an airport-related infrastructure grant.

The agency said the $20.5 million grant would be used to reconstruct the airport’s existing terminal building and to replace aging infrastructure at the facility, including the seating areas at 30 gates.

“The funding we’re announcing today will help 91 airports make critical upgrades to improve travel and further modernize our aviation infrastructure,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.

The upgrades are being funded by the FAA’s Airport Infrastructure Grant program, which was created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The law, which President Joe Biden signed in 2021, contains $15 billion that has been set aside for airport infrastructure. The law also set aside $5 billion for upgrades to airport terminals and another $5 billion that is being used to replace air traffic control facilities and equipment.

According to the FAA, 62 airports in Pennsylvania have received grants during the 2024 fiscal year from the Airport Infrastructure Grant Program. The biggest recipients in the commonwealth along with Pittsburgh International were Philadelphia International, Harrisburg International, and Lehigh Valley International. Grants were also previously sent out for the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years.

The White House said in a fact sheet released in March that $15.8 billion in federal infrastructure spending for Pennsylvania had been announced since the passage of the law, funding more than 455 specific projects.

Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation largely split along party lines in their votes on the infrastructure law. Democratic Sen. Bob Casey voted for the law, along with the Democratic representatives in the House. But the law was opposed by Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who has since retired, along with eight of the nine Pennsylvania Republicans in the House, with the exception of Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who voted for the law.

Former President Donald Trump, who failed to secure passage of an infrastructure bill during his time in office, has criticized Republicans that voted for the bill.

“Very sad that the RINOs [Republicans In Name Only] in the House and Senate gave Biden and Democrats a victory on the ‘Non-Infrastructure’ Bill,” Trump said in a November 2021 statement.

Independent reports showed a need for infrastructure spending before the federal legislation became law.

In 2022, civil engineers from Pennsylvania released a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers assessing the state of the commonwealth’s infrastructure. The 2022 Report Card for Pennsylvania’s Infrastructure gave the overall state of affairs a “C,” with a “B-“ rating for aviation.

The report noted that Pennsylvania airports generate more than $23 billion in economic activity and over $10 billion in annual payroll.

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The Pennsylvania Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.