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Federal funding arrives to help the Santa Barbara Airport with its ongoing upgrades to the terminal, runways and other services

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – With work already in progress at the Santa Barbara Airport in the background, a presentation of funding from the federal government is helping to move future plans forward.

Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-California) said he has secured $3.94 million for the airport projects. It is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that is infusing funds for many projects on the Central Coast that also includes Highway 101 widening and rail improvements.   

"The airport has plans for runway improvements, terminal upgrades, new parking options some more gates and better services," said Carbajal.

In the past three years, Carbajal said $30 million has come in to regional airports for their needs as part of the federal support. This includes the Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo airports.

Santa Barbara Airport Director Christopher Hastert and Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse spoke about the need for the airport to meet federal standards for safety and efficiencies, along with the traveling customer demand.

"It's been a game  changer  for the airport to be able to maintain our aging infrastructure and maintain that  efficiency the vibe Santa Barbara expects that's safe and efficient to use," said Hastert.

The economic benefits can be seen across several areas of the city's budget.
"It's also a business hub and thats what really the airport brings to us the ability to maintain tech businesses and whatnot that gives us connections to other parts of the state and other parts of the country as well," said Rowse. 

The terminal saw its passenger count exceeding a million in the last year and it has had a recent significant boost with the arrival of service from Southwest Airlines.

Hastert said upcoming Delta will restore service in June using a larger and quieter A220 plane. Delta is proiding daily nonstop services to Atlanta once a day and Salt Lake City twice a day. "We have to have balance with our community with how we do our projects and just with technology with GPS approaches and other ways to go in and out of the airport, we are looking at different ways to get aircraft in and out of the airport  and try to avoid  overflight of houses as much as possible."

One immediate project is ready in an emergency. It will divert overflowing creek water away from the runway where it has caused the airport to shut down in large storms. That will be done with k-rail barriers the airport can bring in as needed and install in the problem areas.

"We're ready to go right now so if a storm were to come our way that looks like it has a potential to flood the airport we can  go out and install it so hopefully we won't flood again," said Hastert.

Article Topic Follows: Travel
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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