Around $8.8M Announced for LRD Airport Improvement Projects

July 25, 2022

Jul. 23—Approximately $8.8 million in funding for renovations to the Laredo International Airport were announced Friday.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced the funding during a morning press conference and said more could be coming for infrastructure projects, as well as expansion, in the future.

It was also revealed that the renovations will include upgrades to the existing Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint and other terminal improvement projects.

"There are two different areas: First it was a $1.4-plus million that was done last year from the bipartisan bill that we made sure to bring infrastructure money in, and there was another award that just came out recently which is over the five years for $7.4 million, which will bring about $10 million for the infrastructure for this terminal itself," Cuellar said.

Cuellar's office states the airport originally received $1,483,521 for terminal improvement projects in December 2021. The airport will receive a similar amount of funding every year for the next five years totaling around $7.4 million.

The congressman said the money is necessary to better equip the airport with needed technology and infrastructure, as it was built in 1998. Cuellar said the technology utilized will help improve bathrooms and concession stands as well.

"Since I (was sworn in) as a congressman, we have brought in $216 million roughly for the Laredo airport, which is a tremendous amount," Cuellar said. "Most of it has been underground — you have to do the runways, the places where the airplanes park, and so most of it has been underground. People don't see that, but it is very important.

"Our runway is actually larger than the one in San Antonio, and also we have more runways than the city of Mexico City has, so we have put a lot of money into the runways. We are still trying to see some new things that people can see, as the fire station was built a few years ago and now do some work in the terminal. $10 million is not enough, but it is a good start."

Manuel De Luna Jr. — the City of Laredo Operations Manager of Laredo International Airport and a representative of Airport Director Gilbert Sanchez — also provided thanks for the incoming funding.

"I want to thank Congressman Henry Cuellar, the mayor, city council and our city management for their continued support to our airport," De Luna said. " The Laredo International Airport and the City of Laredo have partnered with the Federal Aviation Administration for the past five years to work toward a terminal improvement program for our airport including new passenger screening checkpoint, additional and renovated restrooms, and improved concession program, all enhancing the passenger experience using our airport."

Cuellar also announced he is currently working in the appropriations committee for more funding for the airport to improve the salary of TSA officers and help make it a major cargo hub.

"We are halfway in the appropriations, and in the appropriations, one of the things that I included in homeland was that we added $600 million to hire more TSA officers and to raise their salaries up so they could be at the same level as other officers," Cuellar said. "So the folks that do their very important job upstairs — hopefully we will see more of these folks, and hopefully by the end of the year they will make this final and get a better salary, and we can match those folks that we have."

Cuellar said investing millions in the airport and its employees is good overall for the economy.

"You put $10 million into the economy, and that multiplies and (keeps) our economy moving," Cuellar said.

The mayor of the City of Laredo said he is happy for what the invested money means for the continuing improvement of the city.

"We are grateful to receive this money and the utilization it will provide for the city," City of Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz said.

Several dignitaries were also present at the event Friday morning including Uvalde resident and Texas State Representative for House District 80 Tracy King, Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar and municipal judges like Jesus "Chuy" Dominguez and others.

According to the congressman's office, the Laredo International Airport does about 68 flights a week with four commercial airlines such as Aeromar, American Airlines, Alligent Air and United Air.


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