U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced $15 million in federal funding awarded to the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)to construct the airport’s new Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT). Bustos, Durbin and Duckworth secured language in the IIJA making the outdated air traffic control tower eligible for federal funding.
In February, they sent a letter to the FAA to prioritize funding from the IIJA for the replacement of the outdated air traffic control tower.
“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.”
“The existing Air Traffic Control Tower poses a serious safety threat for FAA employees,” said 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 “I’m proud to see that the FAA heeded our urgent call to replace the outdated tower and, as a result, this important travel hub will be able to operate more efficiently for years to come.”
“We’re extremely excited and happy about the announcement of the $15 million grant from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA),” said Gene Olson, Director of Airports for the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria. “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. 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. Due to the rules of the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, this particular tower was cut off from all forms of federal financial assistance. The IIJA created a new program that basically made the tower in Peoria eligible. We could not have gotten to this point without the efforts of Peoria’s Congressional Delegation, especially the hard work of US Rep. Cheri Bustos, US Rep. Darin LaHood, their respective current and former staffers, as well as Illinois’ two Senators Durbin and Duckworth.”
A provision included in the IIJA by Bustos, Durbin and Duckworth allowed FAA grants to be used to upgrade air traffic control towers owned by airports, which have traditionally been left out of consideration for FAA funding.