$1 million for ABE Terminal Connector
December 24, 2020
Lehigh Valley Delegation secures RACP funding for Essential Airport Project
(Hanover Township, PA) – Recognizing the importance of the Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) to the region and the Commonwealth, all four legislative caucuses in Harrisburg and the governor secured a total of $1 million in RACP (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program) funding to support the airport’s construction of a Terminal Connector / Security Checkpoint.
“We are extremely grateful for the commitment of our delegation in Harrisburg which ensures the Airport maintains its primary role of being an economic asset for the region,” said Thomas R. Stoudt, Executive Director of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (LNAA). “This critical infrastructure project immediately enhances operational functionality for current and future passenger traffic demand which the FAA projects will increase over the next decade.”
Senators Pat Browne (R-16) and Lisa Boscola (D-18) along with Representatives Ryan Mackenzie (R-134), Zach Mako (R-183) and Jeanne McNeill (D-133) led the bipartisan, bicameral effort to secure funding for the airport.
“Few organizations in our region match the importance and generate the kind of economic impact than that of the Lehigh Valley International Airport,” Senator Browne said. “By continuing to make significant investments in our neighborhood airport, we are ensuring that it will be able to accommodate future demand and meet the complex and ever-changing challenges of modern air travel. This investment, secured by members of the Lehigh Valley state delegation and the governor, does just that.”
The Terminal Connector is a shovel-ready project with groundbreaking expected in early 2021 with a two-year schedule for completion.
“Lehigh Valley International Airport has been an important economic driver for the Lehigh Valley and our Commonwealth,” Boscola stated. “This state investment will allow LVIA to serve more travelers and increase its economic impact for our region and state. Our Lehigh Valley Delegation, Senate and House, Democratic and Republican, worked together to ensure this important funding was secured for the Airport.”
“This project is vital to the growth and expansion of the Airport and will streamline pedestrian traffic as well as provide for more TSA Checkpoints to handle the increasing amount of passengers who use LVIA,” said Representative Jeanne McNeill, whose legislative district is home to the Airport. “This grant is necessary to complete the Terminal Connector Project and I want to thank Senator Browne and all the local legislators who had a part in assisting with the funding and awarding of the grant.”
Built in the early 1970’s, the TSA underground checkpoint at ABE is functionally obsolete and was never designed for modern security screening of passengers.
Since 2017, ABE needed three security screening lanes but did not have space available to implement additional TSA security screening equipment.* The Terminal Connector will increase capacity from two processing lanes up to four – which raises the processing of passengers from 300-per-hour up to 740-passengers-per-hour.
A focus on modernization of the terminal complex which will enhance ADA compliance through the replacement of unreliable escalators and elevators, reducing the number of vertical transitions and simplifying the passenger experience at ABE will be part of the project.
“Over the past several years, the LNAA has spent considerable time and financial resources repairing broken escalators and elevators seriously affecting the level of service for our customers,” Stoudt said.
Elimination of the existing crossflow between inbound and outbound passengers near the TSA checkpoint at ABE is a priority to meet and adapt to post-COVID-19 expectations of an air travel environment requiring more spacious areas for social distancing and extra room for passenger queuing lines.
“While commercial air travel has been severely affected by the pandemic, recovery has historically occurred within a couple of years,” Stoudt said. “ABE needs to be ready for our region, so the time to execute this project is now.” said Stoudt.
* From 2017-19, ABE passenger traffic grew 32%.