U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced two grants for Washington state airports.
Spokane International Airport will receive a $2.5 million grant to improve air quality by reducing the use of conventional fuels to power aircraft in the gate areas. Tacoma Narrows Airport will receive a $4.1 million grant to rehabilitate Runway 17/35.
The Secretary made the announcement today during a visit to Spokane, where he was joined by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.
“We are committed to helping airports around the country make infrastructure investments that will reduce fuel costs, protect the environment and enhance safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The FAA is awarding the grant to Spokane International through its Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) program, which is designed to reduce all sources of airport ground emissions. Aircraft sitting at the gates currently use Auxiliary Power Units that burn jet fuel. The grant will enable the airport to install a land-side power unit and pre-conditioned air unit at each of the new aircraft gates that connect to a cleaner central heating and cooling system, saving fuel and reducing aircraft emissions on the ground.
Tacoma’s Runway 17/35 rehabilitation project will extend the useful life of the pavement and provide more traction for aircraft landing and taking off in wet weather conditions.
“The FAA encourages airlines and airports to find constructive ways to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment and to make needed safety investments,” said Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
In fiscal year 2011, the FAA issued VALE grants for 12 low-emission projects at 11 airports. Since 2005, the FAA has funded 53 low-emission projects at 31 airports, which represents a total investment of $138 million in clean airport technology. That amount includes $109 million in federal grants and $29 million in local airport matching funds.
Through VALE, airports are reducing ozone emissions by approximately 320 tons per year, which is equivalent to removing 17,600 cars and trucks off the road annually. VALE is funded through the Airport Improvement Program.
The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) provides $3.35 billion in annual funding for projects that are vital to maintaining the safety, capacity, and environmental stewardship of our airports. More than 3,300 airports are eligible for AIP grants benefiting commercial passengers, cargo operations, and general aviation activities throughout the nation.
Image: Flickr [tsayles]