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Colorado airports to receive $19.1 million from feds for improvement projects

Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) – Colorado’s airports are set to receive over $19.1 million for improvement projects as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 2021 Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

The AIP program disburses funds to projects that support safety, airport efficiency, environmental stewardship, and critical infrastructure improvements. Historically, the program receives $3.2 billion in annual funding and disburses over 1,500 grants.

FAA's Thursday announcement included a total of 449 grants going to 390 airports in 39 states, Puerto Rico and the Federated States of Micronesia. The grants represent more than $627.7 million in all.

“Airports serve as a lifeline for communities across the nation,” U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.  

“Modernizing our infrastructure in a way that creates jobs, ensures safety, combats climate change, and fosters equity is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration,” he continued.

A total of 14 airports in Colorado are receiving funding from AIP. Grand Junction Airport received the largest individual grant at $6,331,552. The funds will be used on several projects, including constructing a new runway, rehabilitating another one, and making improvements to one of the taxiways.

The state’s flagship—Denver International Airport (DIA)—will receive a $3.5 million grant to fund a taxiway project.

Emily Williams, a spokesperson for the airport, said DIA is “excited” to receive the funding and will “use these funds to make repairs and improvements to taxiways Papa (P) and Charlie November (CN).”

Smaller airports like Rangely will need to stretch their dollars a little further. The airport will receive $496,201 in grant funding to resurface its apron and reseal its runway and taxiway.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s aeronautics division, airports account for over $27 billion in economic activity and over $46.8 billion in revenue for businesses in the state.  

In April 2020, Colorado’s airports received over $367 million from the federal government in COVID-19 relief aid. However, these funds went to support capital expenditures, debt payments and operational costs.