Airport adds stimulus grants to capital projects mix

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The Colorado Springs Airport is one of only 10 airports in the United States earmarked to receive millions of dollars in stimulus money to enhance baggage systems.

“We’ve been working with the TSA over the past two years to obtain grant funds to upgrade and automate our baggage screening system,” said Colorado Springs Airport Aviation Director Mark Earle, adding that he was notified Wednesday that the airport would receive approximately $9.6 million in economic stimulus funds for the project.

Once completed, this system will speed up the baggage inspection process and reduce the number of TSA personnel required to operate it.

“Neither of the ARRA (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) grants were in our original 2009 budget, however, both of the projects that we are funding with ARRA grants were in our five year Capital Improvement Program,” Earle said. “The availability of ARRA funds simply allowed us to move them forward by a year or so.”

Overall this year, the Colorado Springs Airport will receive about $27.7 million in federal grants. The Federal Aviation Improvement Program has allocated $4.2 million for a master plan update and $7.2 million for a runway overlay and taxiway paving project.