Airport to Get $31.8 Million in Federal Grants

By Bill Dries

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and Memphis International Airport officials will announce Monday, Sept. 24, that the airport is getting $31.8 million in infrastructure grants from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Some FAA grants come through the Airport Improvement Program, which awards $3.35 billion in annual funding for airport improvement projects.

Earlier this month, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, whose office oversees the Federal Aviation Administration, announced a series of Airport Improvement Program grants for airports from Puerto Rico to Alaska to Texas.

The largest grant in the set of nine announced since Sept. 5 is $18 million to reconstruct and repave the primary runway at Van Nuys Airport in California.

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority has almost completed construction of its Ground Transportation Center for parking as well as to bring car rental companies into the terminal footprint. A new airport control tower was completed and dedicated earlier this year.

The airport authority in July announced plans to demolish the Regency Inn and Suites motel north of the terminal. It had been open under different brands for nearly 40 years. There are plans to use the space for a cellphone parking lot – a place for passengers to park that will have restrooms and a board of flight times and arrivals they can see while they catch up on messages before entering the terminal building.

When motel owners announced they planned to close, the airport authority shifted plans for the cellphone lot to that plot of land from a lot on property south of the terminal.