ATLANTA — Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport is among 85 airports in the country that will receive nearly $1 billion in federal investments for terminal upgrades.
The White House announced that $40 million will go towards expanding and improving Concourse D, a 40-year-old terminal. Funds are from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was signed by President Biden last year.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the projects will help meet future demand for travel and make flying safer and more efficient.
“I don’t think anybody could look at airports across America today and say that the existing system and existing levels of funding have been adequate,” Buttigieg told reporters.
Atlanta's airport plans to use the money to expand and modernize the terminal by enlarging holding rooms, restrooms, and the central corridor. The project will also improve ADA compliance and support over 500 construction jobs.
Federal funding for the nation’s busiest airport comes at a time when more travelers are hitting the skies since the pandemic.
Last Friday TSA screened nearly 2.5 million passengers, the most since February 2020.
The FAA said 532 airports submitted applications for 658 projects that, if all had been granted, would have totaled more than $14 billion.
In the past, federal funds have gone largely into runways, taxiways and towers while airports paid for terminal upgrades with money they get from passenger facility charges, or PFCs — up to $4.50 per flight that is tacked onto every airline ticket.
Buttigieg said it is fine to spend taxpayer money on projects that were generally funded by passenger fees in the past because “there is a need out there; taxpayers expect it and want it.”
Congress could consider raising ticket taxes for airport projects next year. Airports want to raise the fees, but airlines don’t.