Arizona– A Phoenix City Council subcommittee tasked with aviation recommended that the council send out a request for proposals to find a consulting firm that can identify risks to airport security and suggest improvements. The last time Phoenix airports implemented a comprehensive security action plan was 2004. According to the city’s Aviation Department, a firm would identify highly sensitive safety and security risks and vulnerabilities.
The assessment would apply to Sky Harbor International, Deer Valley and Goodyear airports. The proposed contract with the firm is for two years and includes the option of three one-year extensions. Sky Harbor is among the nation’s busiest airports, with almost 44 million passengers last year. The Southwestern travel hub has also been the testing ground for a screening process that uses 3-D imagery on carry-on bags.
LaGuardia Airport in New York is being renovated through what may be the largest public-private partnership (P3/PPP) in the country. Construction is underway on the $4 billion project, which will scrap the current hub-and-spoke design of the main terminal and replace it with two islands of gates connected to the main terminal building with pedestrian bridges. All of the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the new terminal will be carried out by a group of private companies who are funding $2.6 billion of the construction costs and will operate the terminal through 2050.
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To date, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced $1.3 billion in grants to airports nationwide for Fiscal Year 2016 through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The program provides grants to public agencies – and, in some cases, to private owners and entities – for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).
The AIP is paid for by the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, w
hich is primarily supported by excise taxes on passenger tickets as well as cargo and fuel taxes. Congress recently reauthorized spending from the trust fund through the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016.
The Lake Charles Regional Airport in Louisiana will receive a $1.2 million AIP grant announced this week to update its taxiway lighting system. The airport will replace the outdated taxiway lights with LED lights and put wiring that is currently buried into conduit.
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport officials in Montana recently announced a $3.5 million grant to fix one of their airport’s taxiways and upgrade its lighting system. An additional $2.3 million has been allocated to construct a runway.
New York’s Syracuse Hancock International Airport will receive $2.4 million in two grants. The first grant of $1.9 million will be used to replace outdated passenger-boarding bridges in the airport terminal. The second grant of $500,000 will be used for design services to help reconfigure exit taxiways.
The Airport and Airway Trust Fund was established in 1970 to provide a dedicated source of funding for the U.S. aviation system separate from the general fund. The fund carried a balance of $14 billion at the beginning of the fiscal year.
AIP grants can be used for up to 75 percent of eligible costs at large and medium airports and up to 95 percent of eligible costs at small and general aviation airports. Eligible projects include improvements related to airport safety, capacity, security and environmental concerns. AIP funds are available for most airfield capital improvement projects if the FAA determines the projects are justified based on civil aeronautical demand. Qualifying airports must be publicly owned; privately owned, but designated by the FAA as a reliever; or privately owned, but schedules at least 2,500 annual enplanements.
The Tallahassee International Airport has moved one step closer to building a $33.2 million solar panel farm after receiving approval for the project from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The airport will lease 120 acres on adjacent property for a solar developer to erect 90,000 solar modules that will produce up to 20 megawatts of electricity. The project also helps meet the city’s goals to diversify energy sources, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce its carbon footprint.
Construction is scheduled to last six months and be complete by next spring or summer.