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Milwaukee AIP Rollout

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Remarks As Prepared for Delivery by
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
Milwaukee AIP Rollout
General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee, WI
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Thank you, Brian, for the introduction. And thank you Colonel Gaffne, Mark Nielsen from Senator Ron Johnson’s office and Tiffany Henry from Senator Tammy Baldwin’s office. 

U.S. civil aviation supports more than 5% of U.S. gross domestic product; $1.6 trillion in economic activity; and nearly 11 million jobs. Continued growth in this sector requires maintaining and modernizing the infrastructure that supports it. 

That is why the U.S. Department of Transportation is pleased today to announce $520.5 million in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants to 287 airports in 40 states across the country. With this announcement, the Trump Administration has invested a historic $11.4 billion to more than 2,000 airports across the United States for safety and infrastructure improvements since January 2017. Grants have been awarded in all 50 States and 9 territories, including Puerto Rico, Micronesia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These AIP grants will help improve the Nation’s aviation infrastructure and keep pace with the economic growth resulting from this Administration’s pro-growth tax and regulatory reform policies. 

Since 2017, thanks to these economic policies, more than 7 million jobs have been created nationwide.   The unemployment rate across the country is at a 50-year low. Wages are rising for the first time in decades, and median household income is at its highest level ever. GDP continues to grow at a healthy rate. 

New trade agreements will also further boost economic growth. They include the Phase One Trade Agreement with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

These AIP grants align with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 3 priorities, which are 1) safety, safety is always #1, 2) rebuilding and refurbishing our country’s critical infrastructure to improve efficiency, economic competitiveness and quality of life, and 3) engaging with new technologies to address legitimate concerns about safety, security and privacy without hampering innovation.

These funds, coupled with private sector investments, are improving aviation safety and reducing delays. 

Wisconsin is receiving AIP grants for 2 projects this round.   

Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport will receive $600,000. This will go to rehabilitation of the airport’s primary runway, replacing pavement that has outlived its useful life.  These upgrades will also benefit our military, specifically the 128th Air Refueling Wing which conducts its operations right here at General Mitchell International Airport.  
Additionally, Wisconsin will receive $15.5 million in State Block Grant funding for several small and rural airports across the state. Awards will go towards critical development projects, necessary equipment acquisition and infrastructure. This will include weather observation stations, terminal buildings, fencing and lighting. 

With this grant, Wisconsin has received $3.95 billion in funding from the U. S. Department of Transportation in this administration, including $443.8 million from 119 discretionary grants such as: 

•    A $160 million INFRA grant to reconstruct and expand I-94 in southeast Wisconsin; 
•    $25.7 million in Federal rail funding to replace deteriorated, outdated passenger cars for the Chicago-Milwaukee Amtrak Hiawatha Service; 
•    And, in total, Wisconsin has received $197.3 million in AIP grants during this administration—$13.6 million of which was for the General Mitchell International airport alone!

Some of the largest airports around the country—serving hundreds of thousands of people and tens of thousands of flights daily—are receiving awards in this round of AIP grants. This includes airports in Los Angeles, Chicago, Des Moines, Denver, and others. 

Airports serving our rural communities will also receive their fair share of resources in this round of grant awards after being overlooked for years. This includes Delta Regional in Colt, Arkansas, Atlantic Municipal in Iowa, and Friedman Memorial in Hailey, Idaho. These projects will help airports secure new equipment and provide much needed improvements to airport facilities. 

Air travel is only going to increase. And projects like those in Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin ensure that all communities have access to this critical resource.
In addition to these AIP grants, I was pleased to announce our latest round of Port Infrastructure Development Grants last Friday in Miami. These included roughly $15.9 million awarded to the Port of Milwaukee for an agricultural maritime export facility. This will be used to develop an under-utilized parcel of land at the port into an export facility for agricultural commodities—promoting exports and energy-efficient trade.

So, congratulations, Wisconsin! Under this administration, this state has received $3.95 billion in funding from the U. S. Department of Transportation and $197.3 million in AIP grants—$13.6 million of which was for General Mitchell International airport. 

We look forward to continuing this partnership with you to ensure our Nation’s aviation transportation network remains safe and productive.
Thank you.

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