FAA Highlights New Spending On GA Airports

Denton Airport
Denton Airport Director Scott Gray (l) and FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen examine a crack in the runway.
Credit: FAA

FAA Acting Administrator Billy Nolen visited Denton Enterprise Airport (KDTO) in Denton, Texas, recently to highlight the $20 billion federal investment in airports contained in infrastructure legislation signed into law in November 2021.

KDTO in fiscal 2022 will receive $763,000 through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also called the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, that President Joe Biden signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021. The legislation allocates $1.2 trillion in total spending on roads, bridges, ports, airports and other infrastructure over the next decade, including $550 billion in new spending over the next five years.

The act provides $15 billion in airport infrastructure grants (AIG) for work on runways, taxiways, safety and sustainability projects; $5 billion in competitive grants for airport terminal development projects; and $5 billion to upgrade and replace FAA air traffic control (ATC) facilities, including landing and navigational aids. 

Of the ATC funding, $20 million will be made available in competitive grants each year for federal contract towers (FCT). There are currently 157 airport-owned FCTs, according to FAA background information.

Up to $500 million a year in AIG grants is allocated for general aviation airports.

KDTO is a home to the fixed-base operators (FBOs) US Jet Charter and US Trinity Aviation; contract tower operator Robinson Aviation; flight-training schools In the Pattern, Med Trans and US Aviation Academy, and other businesses. The airport says its economic impact makes it one of the top 10 economic generators of the 264 general aviation airports in Texas.

“General aviation airports are vital to this community and to communities throughout our nation,” Nolen said. “They are where pilots get trained, emergency medical services take off and land, and in many cases where young people are introduced to flying for the very first time. Denton County continues its rapid growth, and it’s essential we support its growth.”

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.