Great Falls International Airport secures funding for infrastructure

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BIG FALLS – Montana and its infrastructure will get a big extra change for the holidays. Great Falls International Airport to Receive $ 9.5 Million Over Next Five Years Thanks to Federal Government Law on investment in infrastructure and employment and will be put on several projects.

The announcement was made Monday morning at the airport, and the event brought together US Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Great Falls International Airport Manager John Faulkner, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce from Cascade County Shane Etzwiler and Brad Talcott from James Talcott. Construction.

Airport manager John Faulkner said the money came as a surprise and he was grateful to have additional funds to help complete projects around the airport which he said needed to be done. have been going on for some time. He wants to complete several projects over the next year and having additional funds will also allow the airport to operate more efficiently, he said.

“Everything we do, we plan flights. This is our number one priority. I never try to shut down an infrastructure. I’m trying to find ways to put it in place so that we can make it work, ”Faulkner said.

He continued, “I know the TSA is doing their best to filter the bags there, but it’s not an optimal environment. They need more equipment. We also need to respond to their needs and expand this area so that they have more space to work. There are three competing priorities, forward and cracks, helping the TSA to grow and creating more space in the lobby for passengers.

Faulkner added that the timing was right given the recent reopening of the Canada-U.S. Border, bringing more Canadian travelers to the airport for the upcoming holiday season.

Tester said the airport is a crucial part of north-central Montana and the funding will also create well-paying jobs for Great Falls airport renovations and others – the bill is expected to provide around $ 144 million. dollars at state airports.

He added that it was a challenge at first to find common ground with the other nine senators, but they were able to come together and get the bill signed by President Biden last week. “When you put five people who are Republican and five people who are Democrats in a room, then there are challenges on your priority, how are you going to pay for that?” You know, it took us a long time, ”he said.

“The only thing that sets this group of ten apart from any other group I have been in during my time in the US Senate is that each of us wanted to get the yes. We didn’t want to say no, we wanted to accomplish something, and in the end, it made all the difference in the world.

“I fly over this airport every week, so I know firsthand how critical it is to growing Electric City’s economy and keeping people connected,” Tester said.

Here are some details of the bill, according to CBS News:

Roads and bridges

  • Bill provides $ 110 billion to repair aging nation highways, bridges and roads. According to the White House, a total of 173,000 miles of freeways and major roads in America and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. And the nearly $ 40 billion for bridges is the biggest investment dedicated to bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system, according to the Biden administration.

Public transport

  • $ 39 billion for transit in law expands transportation systems, improves accessibility for people with disabilities and provides dollars to state and local governments to purchase zero-emission and low-emission buses. The Department of Transportation estimates that the current repair backlog is over 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations and thousands of kilometers of track and electrical systems.

Passenger and freight train

  • To reduce Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, which has worsened since Storm Sandy nine years ago, the bill provides $ 66 billion to improve the 457-mile-long rail service Northeast corridor as well as other routes. That’s less than the $ 80 billion originally demanded by Mr. Biden – who drove Amtrak from Delaware to DC during his time in the Senate – but it would be the biggest federal investment in passenger rail service since inception. from Amtrak 50 years ago.

Electric vehicles

  • Bill spends $ 7.5 billion on electric vehicle charging stations, which the administration says are key to speeding up the use of electric vehicles to tackle climate change. It is also providing $ 5 billion for the purchase of electric and hybrid school buses, reducing reliance on diesel-powered school buses.

Internet access

  • The 65 billion dollars of the law for broadband access aims to improve Internet services for rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities. Most of the money would be made available through state grants.

Electric grid

  • To protect against generalization power outages which have become more prevalent in recent years, the bill is spending $ 65 billion to improve the reliability and resiliency of the country’s electricity grid. It also stimulates carbon capture technologies and more environmentally friendly sources of electricity like clean hydrogen.

Airports

  • The bill spends $ 25 billion to improve runways, gates and taxiways at airports and to improve terminals. It would also improve the infrastructure of air traffic control facilities.

Water and wastewater

  • To improve the safety of the country’s drinking water, the law will devote $ 55 billion to water supply and sanitation infrastructure. The bill includes $ 15 billion to replace lead pipes and $ 10 billion to combat water contamination with polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS – chemicals that were used in the production of Teflon and were also used in fire fighting foam, water repellent clothing and many other articles.
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