S.A. airport to get grant to extend runway
Web Posted: 07/21/2009 5:06 CDT
By Gary Martin - Express-News
WASHINGTON — Airports in San Antonio, McAllen, Kerrville and Galveston will receive $15 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve runways and lighting systems, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday.
San Antonio International Airport will receive a $ 3 million grant from the department's Federal Aviation Administration to extend a runway.
Other Texas cities will receive $12 million under the $787 billion stimulus bill passed by Congress this year and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
LaHood said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act “creates jobs today and builds a better, more sustainable economy moving forward.”
“Through the Recovery Act, we are creating jobs in Texas and across the country while investing in the long-term safety and economic vitality of our airports,” LaHood said.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said that with air passenger traffic expected to double by 2015,
“upgrades and repairs must be made to our airports to accommodate growing number of travelers.”
The grant for the San Antonio airport runway extension was not part of the stimulus money authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Hutchison voted against the stimulus bill.
A report released to Congress by the Government Accountability Office earlier this month showed that states were not steering the money in the stimulus bill to the neediest of counties.
And funds were most likely to flow to short-term projects, instead of job-creating infrastructure improvements that the bill intended, the report said.
Since the stimulus bill became law, the U.S. economy has continued to shed jobs and the national unemployment rate now hovers at 9.5 percent, according to the Department of Labor.
Rep. Lamar Smith, a San Antonio Republican whose congressional district includes the airport, said the federal funding was important to keep the airport growing “to safely and efficiently meet the needs of our growing community and quality of life.”
“San Antonio's airport is an essential part of our local economy as it relates to commerce, business travel and tourism,” Smith said.
The FAA will give $5.4 million to the city of McAllen to rehabilitate a runway at McAllen Miller International Airport. Another $5 million will go to Kerrville Municipal Airport to reconstruct a parallel taxiway into a runway, LaHood said.
In Galveston, $2 million will be made available by the FAA to improve the electrical and lighting system at Scholes International Airport.
About 3,400 airports nationwide have been designated to receive some funding under stimulus bill guidelines.