Published: 1:20 pm, Wed. September 23rd, 2015Updated: 1:19 pm
U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) have announced more than $23.2 million in grants to support air transportation infrastructure at airports in Artesia, Taos and Albuquerque.
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the grants today to fund airport construction and rehabilitation, and reduce pollution.
The Artesia Municipal Airport will receive $2,042,802 to rehabilitate its existing runway.
The Taos Regional Airport will receive $16,162,353 to fund the construction of a new runway, and the Double Eagle II Airport on Albuquerque’s west side will receive $90,000 to conduct wildlife hazard assessments to identify wildlife species and assess their migration patterns.
The Albuquerque International Sunport was awarded two grants: $3,650,000 to rehabilitate the airport’s apron, where airplanes park, load and unload, refuel and board; and $1,279,576 for an ongoing effort to reduce emissions. The second grant will enable the Sunport to install remote ground power and a preconditioned air source for airplanes parked away from the terminal, helping to reduce air pollution by eliminating the need to run auxiliary engines to heat or cool the planes.
The project will support the continued development of the airport’s Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) program infrastructure.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) VALE program helps commercial service airports meet state-related air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act, and undertake proactive projects to improve air quality for their surrounding communities.
“Local airports help drive the economies of many New Mexico communities, and investments like these grants will keep our airports strong and improve the efficiency of travel across our state while helping reduce pollution as well,” Udall said. “As a member of the Senate Commerce and Appropriations committees, I’ll continue to fight for resources to strengthen all of our state’s diverse transportation infrastructure to better connect our local economies, and to facilitate job creation through tourism and business development.”
“These investments will help New Mexico’s aviation industry update our airports and keep our state a prime destination for business and tourism. I’m particularly pleased the Sunport will have the resources needed to improve air quality and benefit public health,” said Heinrich. “Transportation options and accessibility are key factors in attracting and keeping business and driving tourism to New Mexico. Maintaining our airports is critical to long-term economic growth and job creation.”