US Airports Could Benefit From President’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

Mar 2, 2017

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During his nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, President Trump unveiled a $1 trillion plan to improve and boost US infrastructure. “Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land,” President Trump said, though no concrete details were offered.

Trump also mentioned that the financing for these enhancements would come from both “public and private capital—creating millions of new jobs.”

On the campaign trail last September, President Trump compared US airports to those of Third-World countries, saying that Dubai, Qatar and China have incredible airports compared to ours. Clearly, some airports need work — we’re looking at you, LaGuardia.

If President Trump wants to make a big impact on air travel, he’ll need to get the FAA to complete the rollout of NextGen program, a broad program consisting of upgrades to navigational performance that’s aimed at making flying faster and more efficient by safely reducing the distance between planes through the use of modern GPS systems. Essentially, more planes will be able to share the sky at the same time, and airports will be able to accommodate more arrivals and departures as a result.

A 2016 update from the FAA states the foundational structure for NextGen was completed in 2015, but that we’re still several years away from full implementation. Only 30 of the larger US airports have NextGen capabilities, but even some of them don’t have all the improvements just yet — Austin, Houston (HOU), New Orleans, Reno and San Jose are among the cities without NextGen, for instance. Keeping in mind that this report was published before he became president, the final timeline for project completion extends as far as 2027. But as we all know, government projects tend to have fluid timelines, so we’ll just have to see what happens next.

Featured image courtesy of Chris Sattlberger via Getty Images.

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