$1.6M slotted for Armstrong New Orleans International Airport security upgrade

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport has secured a $1.6-million security grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, said Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans.

Aviation Director Sean Hunter has a $10.2-million budget to build a new aircraft rescue and fire fighting station east of the existing station. The airport's new $20.1-million Security Operations Center will consolidate the Aviation Communications Center and security departments in early 2009.

The new center will be built in two phases. Phase I will replace equipment and Phase II will enhance existing equipment, such as installing a facility for employees to obtain badges.

The new facilities will provide better communication and cooperation among the agencies as well as new technology.

"In a post-9/11 society, we have to assure our people that they will be safe and that we are not overlooking any measure of security," Jefferson said.