Airports to Receive FAA Grants
Over the course of the past few decades, America's traveling infrastructure has been built almost entirely around air travel. There are dozens of different airlines and hundreds of airports. There are dozens of large international airports, many of which are suffering a lot due to the fact that airline traffic is still down dramatically during a pandemic, and faulty infrastructure due to age. The Dallas-Forth and San Antonio airports in Texas are very outdated and aren't making near enough to handle repairs. To help assist them during these tough times, the FAA is giving them millions of dollars in federal grants to assist.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) isn't usually in charge of grants, and they certainly don't have a say on who gets money or how much is spent. They will be receiving this money through Congress, and then handing over $35 million to Dallas-Forth Worth and another few million to San Antonio. This money is primarily going to be used for their runways and not necessarily to pay any sort of employee salaries. Though if there's money left over from the construction, that is likely what will happen.
This money is all part of the Biden administration's infrastructure spending. The FAA got $431 million to give out to 60 airports in the United States. Most of this funding is going to be for infrastructure upgrades, though some airports are just failing financially because the traffic is down so much. They will likely use this money more like a stimulus than actual infrastructure spending. Airlines and airports getting money from the federal government is certainly nothing new. We see this quite a lot in America. Airlines got a huge lifeline when the pandemic was at its height.
Airports Still Need Money
Airports and airlines were hit a lot harder than most people realize due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, their business has been severely cut into and still is. Airlines make their money with passengers, plain and simple. There's no other way for an airline to make money. So it stands to reason that, if the government wanted airlines to stay in business, they would have to largely subsidize them to get them through this pandemic. Most of their flights were cancelled and most passengers either opted not to travel or couldn't travel at all due to a variety of travel restrictions in place not only through America's government but also internationally.
Airports themselves make their money in different ways, though all of those ways are reliant entirely on having passengers with airlines. All those little shops set up in airports pay the airport itself, which means that airports can make some huge money when they're busy. Airports like LAX and Dulles weren't suffering. They're the two largest airports in the United States. But Dallas-Fort Worth, while still a big airport, was hit a lot harder due to the fact that their traffic decreased exponentially. These larger airports employ a whole lot of people and it would add a much larger strain to the government were they all to go on welfare than to just bail the airport out with some grant spending. That way, the airport survives and can pay its employees.
Some people are a bit surprised that airports and airlines receive so much funding. Though there was a good anonymous quote from someone who works on a Congressional finance committee, when they said, "It's better for everyone if we bear the cost now to keep airlines and airports up and running for when we need them, rather than to not have them around once we get past the pandemic." Of course, it would be a lot harder on everyone with these airports entirely closed. Other forms of infrastructure and travel would have to bear weight that they might not be equipped for. So this is why the government keeps handing money over to these different industries. The feeling is that they need to be there when they're needed. That's how America is set up now.
These grants total just over $60 million, so it's not as if the government is handing them billions of dollars. It's far less money than the American government pays out to foreign nations in aid, and even far less than the Biden administration has spent on illegal immigration. In the grand scheme of things, many Americans are just happy that some of their tax dollars are finally going to America.