Peoria airport receiving $15M grant for new air traffic control tower

Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 9:54 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2022 at 11:34 AM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - The Peoria International Airport is slated to receive a $15 million grant to construct a new air traffic control tower.

The release from the Federal Aviation Administration says the existing tower at the airport is 63 years old, in poor condition and does not meet the standards of the American for Disabilities Act.

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

This comes after US Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and US Rep. Cheri Bustos sent a letter to the FAA to prioritize funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for the replacement of the outdated tower.

“The existing Air Traffic Control Tower poses a serious safety threat for FAA employees,” said Sen. Durbin. “After urging FAA to replace the tower, I’m thrilled to announce we successfully secured these essential funds. The new tower will improve service, safety, and efficiency at Peoria International Airport, which is a critical economic engine and transportation link for Central Illinois.”

“Support for a much-needed air traffic control tower at Peoria International means Illinoisans’ safety is being prioritized at the federal level,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m proud to see that the FAA heeded our urgent call to replace the outdated tower and, as a result, this important travel hub will be able to operate more efficiently for years to come.”

“The air traffic control tower in Peoria is older than the Federal Aviation Administration, and its condition has been rated as one of the worst in the nation,” said Bustos. “The community is overdue for an upgrade and thanks to President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, they’ll finally receive one. I have been proud to work tirelessly alongside Senators Durbin and Duckworth to deliver this important federal investment in our local airport, and I look forward to the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport continuing to grow and thrive for generations to come.”

“This grant will start the process of replacing the aging Air Traffic Control Tower, which unlike at many airports, is locally owned by the Airport Authority,” said Airport Director Gene Olson The old tower opened in 1959, the year before the creation of the Federal Aviation Administration. We’re told it is the second oldest tower still in service in the United States, and we were told by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association that it is in the worst condition of any FAA staffed tower in the nation.

This is part of $1 billion in grants being given by the FAA, with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg saying the projects will help meet future demand for travel and make flying safer and more efficient.

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

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