$6.4 million federal grant goes to VIA upgrades

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Valley International Airport will receive $6.4 million in federal funds to reconstruct the airport’s runway system, including Taxiway H, sections of the aircraft apron and additional aircraft parking areas.

The funding announcement was made by U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, and will be federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“This grant from the Department of Transportation will allow HRL (VIA) to upgrade critical pieces of infrastructure, ensuring that the airport continues to operate at full capacity,” Vela said in a statement. “These improvements will increase the safety and efficiency of HRL while making travel a better experience for both airlines and passengers.”

The upgrade to the runway system and aircraft parking areas is just the latest in a series of improvements the Harlingen airport has undertaken.

In May the airport opened a state-of-the-art, $3.8 million aircraft fire and rescue facility. The airport is currently undergoing a $1.2 million project to rip out the original late 1980s ceramic tile in the terminal building and replacing it with blue and gray epoxy terrazzo.

The airport also added new air chillers and fan coil units, a new HVAC system which has cut utility costs by 35 percent and new LED lighting. A new roof is coming next year.

“We are excited to hear about the issuance of the grant for improvements at HRL and would like to thank Representative Vela for his help in securing this funding,” said Marv Esterly, director of aviation at Valley International. “This grant will help us to continue to improve the quality of our airport and provide world class service to our tenants.”

The congressman also announced $2 million in grant money for the planned construction of a new terminal at Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport.