$2 million for ABE Terminal Connector
December 10, 2021
Lehigh Valley Delegation secures RACP funding for critical airport infrastructure
(Hanover Township, PA) – Recognizing the importance of Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) to the region and the Commonwealth, all four legislative caucuses in Harrisburg secured a total of $2 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), Jeanne McNeill (D-133), and Maureen Madden (Chairwoman Northeast Delegation) led the bipartisan, bicameral effort to secure funding for the airport.
“ABE’s Terminal Connector project will set the stage for the Airport’s continued growth well into the foreseeable future,” said Senator Pat Browne (R-16).
“By replacing the current obsolete design, ABE will be well positioned to serve an ever-expanding number of travelers seeking the ease and convince of their neighborhood airport. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the General Assembly to support this project and secure the funding necessary to see this project to completion,” Browne said.
A groundbreaking was conducted in May 2021 to kickoff this two-year construction project.
“Lehigh Valley International Airport is an important economic engine for the Lehigh Valley and our Commonwealth and this state investment will allow them to build upon its economic impact,” said Senator Lisa Boscola, (D-18). “Our Lehigh Valley delegation recognizes the importance of this project to the future of the airport and our region.”
Built in the early 1970’s, the underground security checkpoint at ABE is functionally obsolete and was never designed for the latest generation of security screening equipment being deployed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Since 2017, ABE required three security screening lanes but did not have space available to implement the 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 also enhance ADA compliance through the replacement of unreliable escalators and elevators, reducing the number of vertical transitions and simplifying the passenger experience at ABE as part of this project.
“The Airport has significantly invested in the current escalator and elevator equipment throughout the terminal complex, yet we continue to face major operational and maintenance challenges that will ultimately be solved with this project,” said Stoudt.
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 and extra room for passenger queuing lines.
According to Stoudt, industry experts predicted a slow recovery for air travel as a result of COVID-19, but ABE is already reaching pre-pandemic passenger levels.
“Airline stakeholders returned nearly all of their capacity to the market, and the Lehigh Valley has responded by choosing to fly from your neighborhood airport. From June – August, 267,508 passengers used ABE – compared to the 274,431 travelers at the Airport in the summer of 2019.
* From 2017-19, ABE passenger traffic grew 32%.