White House Infrastructure Proposal Includes $25B For Airports

Credit: Rob Finlayson

WASHINGTON—U.S. airports would potentially get $25 billion in government funding to modernize under President Joe Biden’s infrastructure improvement proposal.

The White House began laying out details of its “American Jobs Plan” March 31. The $2 trillion proposal includes $621 billion for infrastructure, within which $25 billion would be allocated to renovating terminals, expanding car-free travel to airports and other airport improvements.

Speaking as a panelist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit March 31, Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) president and CEO Kevin Burke welcomed the proposal but said to bring U.S. airports up to 21st century standards would require projects costing a total of $115 billion. 

“Airports in the U.S. are on average 40 years old and they are not designed for a post-COVID world,” Burke said. “That $25 billion will go a long way to starting the process but it won’t complete it.” 

Burke said that the first priority should be terminal modernization so that physical separations and health safety requirements can be maintained.

A White House fact sheet on the plan states, “The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors. According to some rankings, no U.S. airports rank in the top 25 of airports worldwide.”

The fact sheet also lists upgrades to FAA assets as an infrastructure funding target, though no specifics are cited.

The overall plan is broad, covering massive bridge, road, rail and port repairs as well as investments to replace lead piping, improve public housing and public schools and make high-speed Internet available throughout America. A proposed corporate tax rate hike from 21% to 28% would raise some of the money needed, making it a target for Republicans and business groups. 

Karen Walker

Karen Walker is Air Transport World Editor-in-Chief and Aviation Week Network Group Air Transport Editor-in-Chief. She joined ATW in 2011 and oversees the editorial content and direction of ATW, Routes and Aviation Week Group air transport content.