The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has awarded a new round of airport infrastructure grants, totaling $970 million, to upgrade and expand terminals around the country. 

The third and latest round of grants, which U.S. DOT's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Feb.15, will go to projects in 114 airports in 44 states and three territories. The list of winners includes some of the largest U.S. hubs, as well as regional and small airports.

The funds come from a highly competitive airport terminal program, which was created in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The landmark $1.2-trillion legislation includes $5 billion over five years for the terminal grants. The new batch of awards represents the third round of the program so far.

DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg told reporters in a Feb. 14 briefing to preview the grant selections that the funds will go for a range of types of infrastructure. "These are projects that are going to save Americans time and money," Buttigieg said, "from building entirely new concourses or terminals to making other major upgrades, new baggage systems repairs, air traffic control towers, better security screening areas, more public transit options [and] better accessibility options for travelers with disabilities.”

Top Grants Go to Fort Lauderdale, O'Hare

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida will get the largest grant—$50 million. Funds will go toward constructing two connector walkways between terminals plus upgrades.

The second largest award is $40 million, to Chicago O'Hare International. The funds will help finance a variety of improvements to the 60-year-old Terminal 3.

Other big grants include $36 million to Phoenix Sky Harbor International and $35 million to Washington Dulles International, in Virginia. 

“We're very focused not just on making grant announcements but on guiding these projects through completion,” Buttigieg also said.

Projects Are “Ready to Go”

Successful grant applicants must meet the agency's selection criteria, including having projects that are “ready to go” and can begin construction “right away,” Shannetta Griffin, FAA's associate administrator for airports, said at the briefing.

Griffin also noted that besides the terminal grants, the IIJA's airport infrastructure programs also include $15 billion over five years for "airside" projects, such as runways and taxiways.

As with other U.S. DOT competitively awarded grants, demand for the airport terminal funds greatly exceeded the amounts available. 

Griffin said that FAA received 654 applications, requesting a total of $14 billion.