WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded more than $7 million in grants to airports across New Mexico, including the Santa Fe Municipal Airport, Las Cruces International Airport, Portales Municipal Airport and Lea County Regional Airport, to fund infrastructural improvements.
“New Mexico’s airports are a critical transportation lifeline, connecting our state with other parts of the country and the world while growing our state’s economy,” Udall said. “This funding will help revitalize these airports to ensure that their infrastructure remains structurally sound as travel to and from New Mexico continues to grow. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for the resources needed to grow our transportation hubs and stimulate our economy.”
“Our local airports connect communities all across New Mexico to tourism, business opportunities, and commercial aviation. I’m proud to support these critical investments to modernize their infrastructure and improve safety," said Heinrich. "I congratulate those receiving funding awards and will continue to support resources and opportunities that build the foundation for long-term economic growth and job creation in our state.”
“Airports are economic lifelines and portals for exploration of our beautiful state. These grants will help airports continue to connect people New Mexico as a destination for outdoor recreation, industry, and culture,” said Luján, U.S. House Assistant Speaker. “I am pleased these grants were awarded and will remain steadfastly committed to passing a comprehensive infrastructure package that will rebuild America and create good-paying green jobs in throughout New Mexico.”
“Communities that are easy to get to have increased opportunities to grow jobs and become travel destinations, but rural communities in New Mexico often have limited flight options,” said Haaland. “By supporting infrastructure investments in airports throughout our state, we can bolster local businesses, tourism, and the economy as a whole.”
“As our state economy faces rapid growth, investing in our state’s transportation network ensures that businesses can thrive and passengers can remain safe,” said Torres Small. “This grant secures critical funding for airports in my district, including those in Portales, Lea County, and Las Cruces, an important step towards connecting communities across southern New Mexico for continued growth. New Mexico has waited long enough for investments in our infrastructure, and I will continue to make sure the needs of our rural areas are met.”
Santa Fe Municipal Airport will use the funds to reconstruct 5,000 feet of Taxiway D to ensure safe airfield operations. This grant funds the final phase, which will reconstruct 2,500 feet of Taxiway D. Santa Fe Municipal Airport links New Mexico’s capital with neighboring Southwestern hubs and has nearly tripled in size since 2011.
Las Cruces International Airport will use the grant to rehabilitate the existing general aviation apron, where planes are boarded and refueled, that has reached the end of its useful life. This grant funds the final construction phase. This grant will also fund the installation of 31,000 feet of wildlife perimeter fence to protect the airport from unauthorized and inadvertent entry and wildlife hazards.
Portales Municipal Airport will use funds to reconstruct 5,700 feet of Runway 1/19 to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign object debris. The project also reconstructs 4,500 feet of Runway 8/26 to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize foreign object debris.
Lea County Regional Airport requires improvements to the Runway 21 safety area to enhance the safety of airport operations. This grant will fund the final phase of construction of drainage improvements.