Cantwell: Sea-Tac could get ‘millions’ of FAA funds

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport could “receive millions of dollars” of federal funds as part of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, according to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

As part of the FAA reauthorization bill, which passed the U.S. Senate Feb. 17, Sea-Tac Airport could get funds “critical to improving air travel efficiency and safety,” Cantwell said at a press conference at the airport on Monday.

“Seattle-Tacoma International Airport serves as our gateway to the Pacific, moving millions of passengers each year and air cargo to 23 countries. The FAA reauthorization bill will modernize air travel, supporting our state’s robust trade economy and making our air travel system even safer and more efficient,” Cantwell said in a statement.

The FAA reauthorization bill authorizes $8 billion in Airport Improvement Funds (AIP) for airports nationwide. In fiscal 2009, Sea-Tac Airport received about $50 million for runway construction and repairs. The federal funds could be directed to improving airline delays.

At Sea-Tac in 2009, Cantwell said that more than 13,000 flights were delayed, or 4. 1 percent of all flights. The FAA reauthorization bill includes money for a “NextGen” system that will convert the nation’s air traffic control from a ground-based system to a global positioning system (GPS), which could reduce airline delays.