Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City received a $2.1 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to purchase two replacement sweepers for removing snow from the airport’s runways.
The funding comes from the Airport Infrastructure Grant (AIG) program, part of the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Act that Congress passed in 2021.
“That’s going to help with safety, it’s going to keep flights going,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a Zoom interview Thursday afternoon.
Buttigieg says the grants are important to American economic competitiveness and also important to the communities the airports serve.
“Everybody knows we’ve had a lot of airline cancellations and delays this year,” Buttigieg said. “It’s definitely improved, and we’ve pushed the airlines to improve it, but it’s not just about airlines, it’s about airports, and making sure we have the best equipment, the best technology, the best infrastructure.”
Buttigieg says the infrastructure law has provided a historic level of funding, and it’s being put to good use.
“We should have the best aviation system in the world,” he said. “I think we do, in many respects, but everybody knows that airports could use some renovation, some improvement and that’s exactly what we’re doing now.
Secretary Buttigieg points out that the infrastructure law does much more than upgrade airports.
“There’s also a lot of funding going to Oklahoma for things like roads and bridges, helping communities with their transit systems,” the secretary said. “Every part of American transportation is getting an upgrade right now.”
On the subject of a possible rail strike, Buttigieg hoped the Senate would quickly approve the legislation passed by the House on Wednesday, which imposes the terms of the labor contract drawn up earlier this year.
“Not a perfect deal,” Buttigieg admitted. “Nobody got everything they wanted, but [an agreement] that brings considerable benefits to workers, including a 24% pay rise in one that I think could really move things forward.”
Shortly after we spoke, the Senate did pass the measure. In all, four in the Oklahoma delegation — Sen. Inhofe, Sen. Lankford, Rep. Lucas, and Rep. Cole — voted to force the deal and avoid a strike, while Rep. Bice, Rep. Hern, and Rep. Mullin voted no. , saying that Congress should not be involved.