McAllen International Airport to receive $10.7 million upgrade

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What do you think about the grants to the McAllen Airport? Leave a comment and let me know. U.S. Rep Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, presented 2 federal grants at the regularly scheduled McAllen City Commission meeting on Monday, September 26, 2011.

The McAllen International Airport will receive a $10.7 million upgrade that will be used to expand the main terminal building and will enhance airport security and baggage screening capabilities.

“We are honored to have Congressman Cuellar formally announce today two grant awards for the McAllen International Airport,” Airport officials posted on their Facebook page.

The first grant, for the amount of $4,318,852 will be used for terminal enhancements and is funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Cuellar explained in the check presentation that the expansion of the terminal would result in more effective travel for the border area.

“You’ve got to have the security but you’ve got have the balance where you can move people efficiently,” said Cuellar.

The second grant for $6,442,440 comes from the Transportation Security Administration and will be used for security improvements. According to the TSA’s website most grant funding is awarded to large metropolitans areas where risk is the greatest.

Cuellar noted that the McAllen International Airport has received about $24.7 million in federal funding since 2008.

As part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus plan, the McAllen International Airport received $5.4 million in federal funding.

The dollar amount of the grants was not unnoticed as the McAllen City Commission adopted a lean, conservative budget at the meeting.

Also present to receive recognition from the Mayor and Commission were legislators from the Rio Grande Valley, who also noted the stark contrast between budget cuts in the State and increased spending in Federal programs.

“In Texas we can’t print money like the Federal government does,” joked Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, “So we want to make sure that check doesn’t bounce.”

The grants were presented in front of a standing room only audience at the McAllen City Commission Chambers.