Thursday, June 15, 2023 at 10:20 AM - For Immediate Release
SMF receives FAA funding for relocation of air traffic control tower
The Sacramento County Department of Airports is excited to announce the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will provide funding for the Sacramento International Airport’s (SMF) control tower replacement project.
The tower’s replacement will be funded through the FAA’s $5 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funds also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021. The law authorizes $1.2 trillion for transportation and infrastructure spending with $550 billion of that figure going toward "new" investments and programs.
The FAA has started investing the first $1 billion of $5 billion into the country’s air traffic control system. The funding will sustain, repair, or replace hundreds of buildings and pieces of equipment that make flying in the United States the safest in the world.
“We are thrilled, and greatly appreciate the support we’ve received from everyone involved in this effort,” said Cindy Nichol, Sacramento County Department of Airports Director. “This new state-of-the-art tower will be a significant upgrade to the current facility that will enhance working conditions for air traffic controllers at SMF and ensure the continued safe and efficient management of aircraft operations at the Airport.
“Today’s announcement has taken over a decade of dedication and collaboration – and I am proud that we have secured this funding to build our new air traffic control tower at SMF,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “From the initial planning and design all the way to today’s announcement, I have fought to ensure that decisionmakers at the highest levels understood the importance of getting this project to the finish line. Cindy and her team are always looking at new ways to improve the travel experience and safety of our airport. That’s why I have been such a strong, long-time advocate for robust federal investments in their work. This new tower will continue to build on that progress and ensure our airport remains the gold standard for the nation.”
Congresswoman Matsui is a champion of the Sacramento County Airport System and has long advocated for a new SMF tower – dating back to 2006. She has made numerous requests to secure funding through the annual federal budget, repeatedly urging senior FAA officials to take action and making personal appeals to three different Department of Transportation secretaries. Her unrelenting advocacy has been critical to securing funding for a new tower.
The current tower at SMF is owned and operated by the FAA. It was built in 1967, is 130 feet in height, and is located just south of Terminal B at the Airport. Given that tower is one of the oldest towers in the country, the FAA is prioritizing replacing it with a new, 192-foot tower in a new location on the north side of the Airport. The new tower will be 100 percent funded with BIL funds, which are fully appropriated. The expected timeframe to complete construction is 2026.
"As we invest in the future of our nation's infrastructure, it is crucial that we prioritize the safety and efficiency of our airports,” said Representative Ami Bera. “The building of a new air traffic control tower at Sacramento International Airport is a significant step towards modernizing our aviation infrastructure and ensuring a seamless and secure travel experience for all passengers. This investment not only enhances the safety measures at SMF but also creates job opportunities and strengthens our regional economy. I’m proud to help secure this critical funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which will support a safe and resilient transportation system for generations to come.”
The new tower will be constructed at a site located on the north side of the Airport. It will stand 192-feet in height and the current cost estimate is between $60 to $80 million.
“SMF remains a point of pride for Sacramento County, and with the recent news of available FAA funding for a new control tower, we can expect that our international airport will continue as the best of its size anywhere in the nation” said Supervisor Phil Serna whose district includes SMF. He continued by emphasizing that “safety and convenience at SMF are our top priorities, and a new state-of-the-art air traffic control tower will further enhance our ability to maximize both for the traveling public.”
The Sacramento County Department of Airports is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining the county’s four airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field. Sacramento International Airport offers more than 155 daily nonstop flights on 12 domestic and international carriers to 36 destinations. The regional economic impact of the Sacramento County Department of Airports is more than $4 billion annually. For more information, visit sacramento.aero.