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Utah airports set to receive $36M in federal funds under new infrastructure bill

Travelers ride an escalator past “The Falls,” an art installation by Gordon Huether, at Salt Lake International Airport in Salt Lake City on Nov. 18. The airport is slated to receive another $24.7 million in infrastructure spending for the 2022 fiscal year.

Travelers ride an escalator past “The Falls,” an art installation by Gordon Huether, at Salt Lake International Airport in Salt Lake City on Nov. 18. The airport is slated to receive another $24.7 million in infrastructure spending for the 2022 fiscal year. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's 33 airports are, collectively, slated to receive millions of dollars in new funds that are aimed at "modernizing" the country's aging infrastructure, federal transportation officials said Thursday.

The money comes from a recently-passed federal infrastructure spending bill, which created the Airport Infrastructure Grant program. It sets aside about $2.89 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration to grant airports across the United States for the 2022 fiscal year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Airports can use the money toward any projects that improve runways, taxiways, safety, sustainability projects, terminal, airport-transit connections and roadway, according to the agency.

Utah's airports are set to receive a little over $36.2 million of that money.

"The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has given us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build safer and more sustainable airports that connect individuals to jobs and communities to the world. With this new funding, urban, regional and rural airports across the country now can get to work on projects that have waited for years, modernizing their infrastructure and building a better America," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, in a statement Thursday.

The money was dispersed to airports that receive the most traffic. That's why most of the money coming to Utah will go to the Salt Lake City International Airport, which is set to receive about $24.7 million in new funds. All of the 32 other Utah airports received at least $110,000 individually. Six of those 32 airports also received over $1 million in new funds:

  • St George Regional Airport: $1,486,245
  • Provo Municipal Airport: $1,424,960
  • Cedar City Regional Airport: $1,015,726
  • Canyonlands Field (Moab): $1,010,713
  • Ogden-Hinckley Airport: $1,010,481
  • Vernal Regional Airport: $1,008,207

Airports can begin to submit project proposals for the Federal Aviation Administration for review "in the coming weeks," federal officials said. While airports have many options on how to use the money, federal aviation officials said they encourage airports to "prioritize projects that increase airport safety, equity and sustainability."

Nancy Volmer, a spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City International Airport, told KSL NewsRadio on Thursday that airport officials had just found out about the federal money and haven't had time to strategize where that money would go.

She believes it will likely go toward some element in the next phase of the new airport. The new airport opened last year and construction of the new east portion of concourse A is ongoing. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, with some new gates opening earlier that year.

California airports received the most money from the new spending, at $294.5 million. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport received the most among all the airports in the country with a little over $92.5 million in available funds for the 2022 fiscal year.

The FAA still estimates the entire backlog of airport modernization and safety projects totals over $43 billion. The infrastructure bill set aside about $15 billion in funds to be spent toward that deficit over the next five years.

Utah's airports also got over $100 million in federal funds in June. The money was aimed at keeping airports running after the COVID-19 pandemic greatly hurt the airline industry, and the money came from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed in March.

Contributing: Nick Wyatt

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