Reed Hails Historic Infrastructure Investments for RI Airports
RIAC nets over $60.8 million in federal funds for airport upgrades in 2023
WASHINGTON, DC – Thanks in part to the leadership of U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Rhode Island’s local airports have been awarded a record haul of federal funds from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for infrastructure improvements in 2023.
After getting the latest infusion of $13 million in FAA funding under the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Grant Program to help upgrade the runway at Quonset State Airport, as well as another round of funding for upgrades at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport (PVD), the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) has now received $60,843,363 for airport infrastructure improvements this year -- the largest single year federal funding amount in Rhode Island airport history – surpassing the $45,512,884 in federal funding secured in fiscal year 2014.
Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, helped provide over $3.35 billion for the AIP Grant Program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Consolidated Appropriations law. The AIP Grant Program funds airport infrastructure projects such as runways, taxiways, airport signage, and lighting. This funding is in addition to the $15 billion for airport infrastructure improvements that was included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and will be available until FY 2026.
“Our airports are engines of economic growth. Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport, Quonset Airport, and our smaller regional airports all have a critical economic impact and increase connections for air travel. And under RIAC, we’re seeing some major improvements as these airports really up their infrastructure. I am pleased to deliver federal funding to help make these infrastructure upgrades, which are critical to safety, reliability, and ensuring Rhode Island has a stable network of airports,” said Senator Reed.
Under FAA guidelines, AIP awards may cover up to 90 percent of the cost of AIP projects, with the rest coming from state or local funds.
RIAC is a quasi-public corporation empowered to undertake the planning, development, management, acquisition, ownership, operations, repair, construction, improvement, maintenance, sale, lease, or other disposition of Rhode Island Airports: Rhode Island T.F. Green Airport, Warwick; North Central Airport, Smithfield; Quonset Airport, North Kingstown; Westerly Airport, Westerly; Newport Airport, Middletown; Block Island Airport, Block Island.
Senator Reed is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and secured funds to upgrade the runway at Quonset Airport, a joint use (civil, military, public) airport.
Reed says the Quonset Air Base is a strategic asset that is home to both the Rhode Island Air and Army National Guard, which use the facility for training and aviation operations.
Quonset Airport is the second-busiest public-use airport in the state. Aircraft of all sizes use the general aviation facility - from hulking C-130Js to small, private planes - and the airport helps attract business travelers and tourism to the area. Senator Reed also secured $46 million to build a state-of-the-art headquarters for the Rhode Island Air National Guard at the Quonset Air Base. The new, modernized facility will have the added capability of functioning as a 24/7 command and control center in emergencies.
In addition to its military role with the National Guard, Quonset Airport makes the port of Quonset Point unique among East Coast seaports, offering quick access to air travel in addition to highway and rail transport.
So far this year, RIAC has received several waves of federal funding, including:
• $42,970,816 for Runway 16-34 Reconstruction and Rehabilitation at Quonset State Airport (including $13,067,910 in AIP funding and $29,881,547 in Department of Defense funding);
• $10,900,903 for Taxiway C Reconstruction at Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport and a $1 million earmark for Terminal Upgrades at T.F. Green International Airport;
• $2,525,248 for Aircraft Apron Expansion at Block Island State Airport;
• $1,835,300 for Security and Wildlife Fencing at Westerly State Airport;
• $1,611,096 in Utility Improvements, Grading and Environmental Assessments for air cargo facilities at PVD; and
• $1,000,000 for Apron Rehabilitation at North Central State Airport.
Senator Reed is a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees transportation funding. He has helped direct over $270 million to Rhode Island’s airports over the last decade.
“The Rhode Island Airport Corporation and its Board of Directors are extremely grateful to Senator Jack Reed and all in our Congressional Delegation for their tireless work on behalf of our state,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. “These federal funds provide critical support to maintain and improve our state and national aviation system, as well as ensure that the Rhode Island Air National Guard has the infrastructure needed to fulfil its vital missions for decades to come.”