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Upstate airports to receive more than $2M for infrastructure improvement

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The Federal Aviation Administration will award $477 million in airport infrastructure grants, the third allotment of the total $3.18 billion in Airport Improvement Program funding for airports across the country. The 10 South Carolina airports to receive grants include three in the Upstate.

“This significant investment in airport improvements in South Carolina will fund construction and rehabilitation projects that will help maintain high levels of safety in U.S. aviation,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a news release.

The Columbia Metropolitan Airport received the largest grant in the state — $3.7 million to improve an airport terminal and upstate its master plan, while Grand Strand Airport in Myrtle Beach will receive $3.5 million to rehabilitate a taxiway.

Others receiving grants are Aiken Regional Airport, $351.450; Barnwell Regional Airport, $121,803; Marlboro County Jetport in Bennettsville, $347,944; Jim Hamilton L.B. Owen Airport in Columbia, $550,000; and Rock Hill-York County Airport, $92,340.

The news release said 276 grants will go to 264 airports in 44 states, the Pacific Islands, and the District of Columbia. Selected projects include runway reconstruction and rehabilitation, construction of firefighting facilities, and the maintenance of taxiways, aprons, and terminals. The construction and equipment supported by this funding increases the airports’ safety, emergency response capabilities, and capacity, and could support further economic growth and development within each airport’s region, according to the release.

“Airport infrastructure in the United States, with 3,332 airports and 5,000 paved runways, supports our economic competitiveness and improves quality of life,” the release said.

According to the FAA’s most recent economic analysis, U.S. civil aviation accounts for $1.6 trillion in total economic activity and supports nearly 11 million jobs.

Airports can receive a certain amount of AIP entitlement funding each year based on activity levels and project needs, the release said.

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