Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport gets $36 million federal grant for infrastructure upgrades

Feb 21, 2024, 8:00 AM

People can be seen riding the escalators and standing in lines inside Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Har...

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport received a $36 million federal grant on Feb. 15, 2024, to modernize the aging cooling system at Terminal 4. (Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Photo)

(Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Photo)

PHOENIX – The infrastructure at Arizona’s largest airport is getting an upgrade thanks to a $36 million federal grant, the Biden administration announced last week.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International is one of 114 airports around the country to get a piece of $970 million handed out Feb. 15. The funding comes from the Airport Terminals Program created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Sky Harbor was one of six airports to receive more than $30 million. The Phoenix grant will go toward replacing aging and outdated equipment at the 35-year-old Central Utility Plant, the heart of the Terminal 4 cooling system.

“With our continued record-setting passenger demand, this grant comes at a perfect time to help us modernize our facilities, reduce our energy demand and conserve our natural resources, all of which directly benefit our customers and community,” Chad Makovsky, city of Phoenix aviation director, said in a press release.

What other airports received noteworthy federal grants?

One other Arizona airport received a portion of last week’s funding. Yuma International Airport is getting $950,000 for upgrades to its security technology.

A Federal Aviation Administration official said there were more than 600 grant applications, with requests totaling $14 billion.

The largest grant, $50 million, will go to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida for a project to connect terminals behind the security checkpoints and provide new retail space and other amenities. The next largest was $40 million for O’Hare International Airport in Chicago to widen a concourse, reconfigure a security checkpoint and other changes.

How has Biden administration addressed air travel issues?

The administration has gone to great lengths to promote new and proposed protections for air travelers — seeing airlines as an easy target of consumer frustration.

President Joe Biden has railed against fees that some airlines charge to let families sit together. The Transportation Department published an online “dashboard” to prod airlines to commit to improving customer service.

“Another part of that better travel experience is to invest in our physical infrastructure, to improve the airports,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in discussing the airport grants with reporters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport gets $36 million federal grant for infrastructure upgrades