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Federal funds to give plan for new terminal at Dulles a leg up

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Plans for a new 14-gate concourse at Washington Dulles International Airport received a boost of nearly $50 million out of the $5 billion available for airport improvements through the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Recipients of the first $1 billion worth of grant funding were announced this week by the Federal Aviation Administration. About 90 airports received a share of the cash, based on a competitive-application process.

The $49.6 million in funding for Dulles will provide another chunk of the financial support needed for the new concourse, designed to replace boarding areas currently used by regional flights, upgrade aircraft-service facilities and bring new amenities to passengers.

It would replace gates built in the late 1990s at the eastern end of Concourse A, where many regional-flight passengers currently go outdoors to access their planes via covered walkways.

In April, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority CEO Jack Potter called the project “the first step in a long-term strategy to expand and enhance the facilities and services at Dulles International Airport as we look toward the future.”

The Airports Authority has applied a total of $230 million in funding that would, if approved, pay for approximately 30 to 40 percent of the costs of a 400,000-square-foot facility, authority officials said in April.

The Airports Authority has completed all the necessary studies for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act, making the project “shovel-ready” under guidelines of the FAA grant program, Potter said.

Last year, the Airports Authority opened a new 14-gate concourse for regional flights at Reagan National Airport, which replaced outdoor-boarding areas with spacious new seating areas, concessions and other amenities. The construction program at Reagan National, called Project Journey, also added two large security-screening buildings to provide new services and improve the passenger experience.

Also receiving funding from the new cache of government cash was Richmond International Airport, which will receive $665,000 for renovation of the Federal Inspection Station to meet Customs and Border Protection Service facility standards for international-traveler processing.

“These funds will go toward modernizing and updating both Dulles and Richmond international airports,” U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D) said in a joint statement. “We are glad to see continued, meaningful investment in the commonwealth’s infrastructure thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law that will make travel through our airports easier and more accessible.”

According to FAA officials, large hub airports will receive up to 55 percent of the $5 billion in funding; medium hub airports will receive up to 15 percent; and small hub airports will receive up to 20 percent.

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