Arkansas airports to receive $23 million in first round of funding from new infrastructure law

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,023 views 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday (Dec. 16) it will award $2.89 billion in fiscal 2022 to 3,075 U.S. airports as a result of the new infrastructure law. In Arkansas, $23.35 million will go to 65 commercial, county and municipal airports.

The law provides $15 billion over five years for airport-related projects under the existing Airport Improvement Grant and Passenger Facility Charge programs. The money can be invested in runways, taxiways, safety and sustainability, terminal, airport-transit connections and roadway projects.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has given us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build safer and more sustainable airports that connect individuals to jobs and communities to the world,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “With this new funding, urban, regional and rural airports across the country now can get to work on projects that have waited for years, modernizing their infrastructure and building a better America.”

In Arkansas, the largest amounts awarded in the first round of airport funding from the law will go to the three largest commercial airports in the state:

  • Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, $4.89 million
  • Northwest Arkansas National Airport in Highfill, $4.46 million
  • Fort Smith Regional Airport, $1.27 million.

XNA CEO Aaron Burkes said the airport has yet to make any decisions on how to use the infrastructure funding. However, he noted the large number of projects XNA has in the pipeline for which the money could be used.

“We will be working on finalizing timing and funding options on our various projects in early 2022,” said Burkes, adding that XNA is “ready to go with the Skybridge project (about $37 million) as well as the addition of two gates in the A concourse (A3 and A12 – about $5 million)” along with ramp expansions and new air traffic control tower.

According to a news release, airports can submit proposals to the FAA for review in the coming weeks. The agency encourages applicants to prioritize projects that increase airport safety, equity and sustainability. The agency also plans to reach out to minority businesses about these opportunities at the airports.

The money will come from the Airport Infrastructure Grant program, one of three new aviation programs created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. According to the FAA, the backlog of airport modernization and safety projects is $43.6 billion.

Following are some of the other Arkansas airports to receive the funding:

  • Bentonville Municipal, $295,000
  • Drake Field in Fayetteville, $295,000
  • Jonesboro Municipal, $763,000
  • North Little Rock Municipal, $295,000
  • Rogers Executive, $763,000
  • Smith Field in Siloam Springs, $159,000
  • Springdale Municipal, $295,000
  • Texarkana Regional, $1.02 million