Indianapolis Airport Receives $ 56.3 Million Federal Grant, Largest Ever

The Indianapolis Airports Authority received most of the country’s federal dollars in a recent round of grant distributions this week.

The $ 56.3 million grant is also the largest in the history of the airport.

The money comes from the sixth and final round of this year’s Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program, which allocated $ 431.8 million in grants across the country to support sustainable airport infrastructure.

Indianapolis beat major hubs like Dallas and Detroit, which each received around $ 35 million. IAA Executive Director Mario Rodriguez, who was part of President Joe Biden’s Transportation Department transition team, attributes the large allocation to years of lobbying work.

“DC considers us important and they put their money where their mouth is,” he said in an interview with IndyStar Wednesday.

The money will finance the initial phase of construction of one of the runways at Indianapolis International Airport, as well as the initial phase of construction and electricity of a taxiway.

The pandemic-influenced online shopping explosion prompted the IAA to examine this trail, which is used by both commercial airlines and FedEx flights. While it’s still usable, Rodriguez said the IAA wants to rebuild it in anticipation of ever-increasing demand.

This is a $ 72.8 million project, according to the airport authority’s 2022 capital improvement budget. The airport initially planned to fund half of it with local debt financing, but with federal money covering three-quarters of the project, some of that local money can be reinvested in customer service costs at terminals, Rodriguez said.

The project is expected to create around 2,700 jobs, he said.

In a previous cycle, the IAA received approximately $ 960,000 for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles, adding two 25-foot electric shuttles and charging stations to its existing fleet of 9. The IAA will be able to purchase two. other electric vehicles from the Volkswagen Settlement, creating a fleet of 13 people, which Rodriguez says will make it the largest in the country.

Separately, the airport is receiving an $ 11 million federal grant to bolster its ability to allow planes to stay parked at the airfield overnight, which the IAA says contributes to its goal of adding more non-stop flights and commercial carriers.

Earlier this year: Indianapolis Airport Adds Non-Stop Flight to Another Florida Beach Destination

The airport added 21 new non-stop flights in 2021 alone and two new carriers, Sun Country and Contour.

In total, the IAA received $ 71 million in federal grants this year, a far cry from the $ 15 million it received in Rodriguez’s first year as an executive, in 2015.

“We’ve been working on this for a very, very long time to get the number to this point,” he said.

Contact Kayla Dwyer, IndyStar Transportation Reporter, at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @ kayla_dwyer17.

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