Federal infrastructure bill sends $80M to Alaska airports

Juneau International Airport. (James Brooks)

Money from the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is flowing to Alaska airports.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is sending Alaska a total of $80 million for safety and capital improvements in the first year of the five-year infrastructure program, approved by Congress last month. 

The largest share goes to Ted Stevens International, in Anchorage. It will receive $17 million. 

Airport Director Jim Szczesniak said it essentially doubles the annual construction budget.

“Our airport is growing right now and we need to invest in it, and this money gives us the ability to continue to invest in the airport,” he said.

Szczesniak said the money will pay for improvements to taxiways and the busy South Terminal. He says it will also help upgrade the North Terminal to prepare for international flights from a new carrier – Northern Pacific Airways.

The Infrastructure Law funds improvements at 235 Alaska airports, including:

• $3.9 million for Fairbanks International

• $3.5 million for Juneau International

• $1.7 million for Bethel.

The smallest airstrips will receive at least $110,000 in the first year.

All three members of Alaska’s congressional delegation voted for the so-called “hard” infrastructure bill, drawing criticism from former President Donald Trump and right-wing Republicans.

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Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Liz here.

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