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FAA announces $50M in grants to 23 airports in Alaska

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 9:25 PM AKDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2021 at 10:06 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Promising news has come for several communities in Alaska, as the Federal Aviation Administration announced an award of $50 million in grants to make various improvements. That money is set to reach 23 airports across the state.

Overall, the FAA is awarding more than $845 million in grants for projects at 388 airports in 49 states, according to a press release.

“This is incredibly important as an economic lifeline to make sure that the state has the resources and the capacity that it needs to grow,” said Matthew Lehner, assistant administrator for communications for the FAA. “Really, this money is so that airports can build back better, so that we can increase access to many communities — and to also make sure that the additional capacity is there for Alaska.”

The small village of Togiak is getting the largest grant allocation out of the 23 Alaska airports selected. The Togiak Airport will receive $12.1 million, while the village of Noorvik will receive the second largest amount of about $11.9 million.

“For many communities like Togiak, aviation is the way that you get from one place to the other, (and) where goods, people, and medical services come in, so that award in Togiak is gonna be really important to rebuild taxiways and to rebuild runways there,” Lehner said.

In addition to rebuilding taxiways and runways, he says some of the funding from the grants will go toward increased capacity at airports that have a large cargo presence. Some of the funding will also be used to purchase snow removal equipment. Lehner says the $50 million in funds should also create new jobs in the aviation industry as well.

“This funding will go a decent way to keep jobs in place, attract new jobs, and to keep the state going forward,” he said.

According to Lehner, the funds for those airports should be distributed rather quickly.

“They’ve in many cases already done the planning, their early engineering work and the early environmental work — so that when we make these dollars available, they can not only get to that airport quickly but the airport can then get to work quickly as well,” he said.

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