TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Almost half a billion dollars will soon be heading to airports all across the country, including several airports in the Tampa Bay area.
The $477 million is part of a multi-billion dollar plan by the Department of Transportation to enhance airport infrastructure. The money is being split between 264 airports across the country.
Airports in the Tampa Bay area that are getting some of the money include Tampa International, Peter O. Knight, Sarasota/Bradenton International, Arcadia Municipal, Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional, Crystal River – Captain Tom Davis Field, the Plant City airport and Winter Haven Regional.
Federal officials are hoping it gives local communities an economic bump.
“There are airports all over the country that serve their communities. And these airport grants make critical safety and capacity enhancements in order to meet travel demand across the country,” said Bailey Edwards, an assistant administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced a third round of airport improvement grants on Tuesday. Those grants are part of $3.8 billion that’s been earmarked for airport infrastructure projects.
Projects include taxiway lightning improvements in Indianapolis, security enhancements in Tampa and a new de-icing pad in Memphis.
“These are projects that directly affect how airplanes move through the system and the safety of the system that airports provide,” Edwards said.
Edwards says the grant money will improve airport safety and create jobs.
“Last year, the aviation sector contributed $1.6 trillion of economic activity in the United States,” she said.
Lawmakers say wherever the grant money ends up, it’s a boost to local economies and travelers.
“Infrastructure is vitally important,” Republican Rep. Neal Dunn of Florida said. “People are traveling more and more and more by air.”
President Donald Trump has long made infrastructure a priority, but with little bipartisan success so far. He called on lawmakers again last week to focus on the issue.
Edwards says today’s grant money helps accomplish the president’s goal.
“This has a direct impact on communities across the country and reflects on the president’s delivery of his promises to invest in America’s infrastructure,” she said.
You can find a full list of airports receiving money – and find out what that money is going toward – on the FAA website.