NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk International Airport (ORF) will soon see some big upgrades and the federal government is picking up part of the tab.
The airport is getting $33 million in funding from the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law.
Congressman Bobby Scott toured Norfolk International alongside Airport Authority executive director Robert Bowen to get a first-hand look at how airports officials plan to use millions of dollars in federal funding.
“The Norfolk airport is almost 75 years old and obviously a lot of things have reached past their useful life,” Scott said. “If we're going to have a functioning airport, you have to make the ongoing investments and this law will make those investments possible."
Millions of passengers and thousands of flights travel through Norfolk International Airport every year, and the head of the airport authority says it's time for some upgrades.
One major investment on the table is adding more gates to Concourse A.
"Maybe looking to add like five additional gates and holdings,” Bowen said.
He added the airport is "running short" on gates for overnight parking as airlines add more flights.
More projects are in the works: making it to your flight or baggage claim will be a lot faster with a new "people mover" planned for the pedestrian bridge. But one of the most important things on Bowen’s list is runway reconstruction.
"To be able to get started on the repairs, rehabilitation, reconstruction of our primary runway,” Bowen said. “That's our life."
Bowen said he's hoping these upgrades will go a long way in attracting more flights and more airlines to Norfolk.
"It won't hurt. You know, the airlines have a lot of criteria that they use when they go into a market. The airport is expected to have the facilities ready for them,” Bowen said. "What we're trying to do is position ourselves to not only meeting our needs now but be able to say, 'Yes when you come in, there's a gate available.’”
As part of the bipartisan infrastructure law, the government is investing in things like roads, bridges, and railways.
"But we're also making significant investments in airports. And right here in Norfolk, we can see the benefits of those investments,” Scott said. "In this case, we're seeing the benefits of the appropriations, we're seeing the improvements at the Norfolk airport.”