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Boost in funding from Biden’s infrastructure law propels AUS closer to its goals

Friday, July 8, 2022 by Samuel Stark

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport received an additional $15 million in funds yesterday from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law to go toward its ambitious airport expansion plan. The airport received $17.3 million from the same pool of funds last year.

The funding comes amidst an incredibly busy summer for the airport, with officials recommending passengers arrive at least three hours before their flights are scheduled to take off.

“In order for Austin to be the international city – the hub of education, culture and technology that I know we are – our institutions and our infrastructure must be properly equipped to support world-class endeavors and worldwide visitors,” U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett said in a statement. “Our most immediate need has been for more Transportation (Security) Administration resources to prevent more long lines and baggage issues.”

The newly secured funds will go toward improving facets of the Barbara Jordan Terminal and are part of the larger Airport Expansion and Development Program. A new inline baggage handling system, TSA checkpoint extension and gate expansions are some of the initiatives the funding will cover.

Still, the funding from the federal infrastructure bill is just a fraction of the money needed to complete the 2040 master plan. An estimated $3.5 billion to $4 billion will be invested in airport improvements over the project timeline, with $400 million in funding secured last month.

AUS was built in 1999 with the intention of serving just 11 million passengers a year. To account for the rapid population growth the region has seen, a master plan was finalized in 2019 to serve as an expansion road map with the end goal of serving over 31 million passengers annually.

“These infrastructure funds will help in expanding our airport to meet the demands of both our growing population and our growing role as an international gateway city,” Doggett said.

The federal government has released a total of $1 billion in funding, including $32.3 million for Austin, to 90 different airports across the U.S. There is still $4 billion more in airport funding that the U.S. will release.

Photo by LoneStarMike, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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