Air traffic

Peoria Airport receives $15 million grant for new air traffic control tower

PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) – Peoria International Airport is set to receive a $15 million grant to build a new air traffic control tower.

The Federal Aviation Administration statement said the airport’s existing tower is 63 years old, in poor condition and does not meet American for Disabilities Act standards.

The new tower would meet all building codes, including the ADA, and use modern, energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems.

It comes after U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos sent a letter to the FAA to prioritize Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funding for the replacement of the obsolete tower.

“The existing air traffic control tower poses a serious threat to the safety of FAA employees,” said Senator Durbin. “After urging the FAA to replace the tower, I am delighted to report that we have successfully secured these critical funds. The new tower will improve service, safety and efficiency at Peoria International Airport, which is a vital economic engine and transportation link for central Illinois.

“Supporting a much-needed air traffic control tower at Peoria International means keeping Illinois safe is a federal priority,” said Senator Duckworth. “I am proud to see that the FAA has responded to our urgent call to replace the outdated tower and as a result this important travel center will be able to operate more efficiently for years to come.”

“The Peoria Air Traffic Control Tower is older than the Federal Aviation Administration, and its condition has been rated as one of the worst in the nation,” Bustos said. “The community has been waiting for an upgrade for a long time and thanks to President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure act, they will finally get one. I was proud to work tirelessly alongside Senators Durbin and Duckworth to make this important federal investment in our local airport, and I look forward to General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport continuing to grow and prosper for generations to come.

“This grant will begin the process of replacing the aging air traffic control tower, which unlike many airports is locally owned by the airport authority,” said airport manager Gene Olson. The old tower opened in 1959, the year before the Federal Aviation Administration was established. We’re told it’s the second-oldest tower still in service in the United States, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association tells us it’s in the worst condition of any FAA-staffed tower in the country.

It’s part of $1 billion in grants from the FAA, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg saying the projects will help meet future travel demand and make flying safer and more efficient.

The grants announced Thursday are the first $5 billion installment for airport projects that were included in an infrastructure bill that Congress approved and President Joe Biden signed into law last November.

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