Aviation in California: What the Bipartisan Infrastructure Means

05/10/2023 9:54 AM | The Hoyt Organization (Administrator)

When it comes to design and construction, the aviation industry pumps billions of dollars into projects that feed into the architectural, design and construction industries. And now, with the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – which passed in August of 2021 – with more than $25 billion earmarked for aviation needs. More than 160 people attended this month’s April meeting held at The California Club, to hear from aviation experts about what was planned.  

The Bipartisan Infrastructure law has $25 billion earmarked for aviation. The budget will be allocated to three different project types: airport terminals, air pollutants and other related infrastructure investments, and air traffic facilities.  

While there have already been two rounds of grants awarded, there is quite a bit more in the pipeline. What are the projects that are coming up? How is the procurement handled? What will they cost?  

At the forum, representatives from five of California’s airports shared insights on how procurement processes work, how the budgets are divided and what projects were on the drawing board. Each member shared their insight on how the procurement process is handled and what RFP/RFQs were in the pipeline.  

Jennifer Crawford, Syska Hennessey Group, served as the moderator. The following representatives and airports were represented:  

-Long Beach Airport, Claudia Lewis, Manager if Finance and Administration 

-Los Angeles World Airport, Emery Molnar, Deputy Executive Director  

-Port of Oakland, Joan Zatopek, Aviation Planning & Development Manager 

-Ontario International Airport, Michelle Brantley, Chief Capital Program Development Officer  

-San Francisco International Airport, Nupur Sinha, Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs  

A short summary of the various projects that are on the runway for each of the airport facilities follows:  

Long Beach Airport 

More than $120 million of funding for various projects has been underway for The Long Beach Airport Phase II Terminal Area improvements since July of 2018; several other projects are slated for completion by February 2024. These include:  

-A $10 million taxiway B that was completed as of November 2021 

-A $26 million taxiway improvement project that was completed as of December 2022 

-A $9.5 million runway rehabilitation project that is currently under construction, with completion slated for September of 2023 

-A $10 million taxilane reconstruction project that is currently in the bidding phase, with completion slated for September 2024 

“All of this will have a huge impact on our customer experience as well as drastically improve inbound and outbound passenger flow, so we were awarded $10.5 million in the first round. We did not apply for the second round simply because we are a small airport, small staff and don’t have the bandwidth,” said Claudia Lewis, the Manager of Finance and Administration for the Long Beach Airport. “We do have plans for applying for projects in the upcoming rounds.”  

Los Angeles World Airport 

As the second largest (and busiest) airport in the US – ranking behind the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport – LAX sees more than 88+ million passengers a year. Its current $30 billion capital improvement program will transform LAX into an enjoyable experience, even though until then passengers will need to navigate masses amount of construction pathways.  

The new LAX will include a wide variety of multiple task order contracts including all access road renovation, a North and South airfield program, concourse work in addition to:  

-T9: A new 1.4 million Sq. Ft. building that will be separate from the rest of the airport but connected with a pedestrian bridge to connect to the opposite side of Sepulveda Blvd from the airport. This will be accessible with the Automated People Mover and the new roadway access.   

-Concourse 0: An extension of Terminal 1 in the space where LAX-it is currently located, the new terminal will be home to a variety of airlines and include an outdoor lounge space. LAX-it will be moved to a location with access to the Automated People Mover. It is currently in the design phase with the goal of having some portions of it open prior to the 2028 Olympics.  

-A new roadway network that will separate airport traffic from local traffic, allowing less congestion in neighborhoods and smooth flow of traffic on Sepulveda.  

-Airfield improvements that are designed to help increase safety and efficiency of the north airfield. 

-Cargo modernization program 

-Signage and Wayfinding enhancement program  

Landscape beautification will take place on 13 potential acres that could be transformed into pedestrian plazas between the central terminal area parking lots and the arrival level using the existing crosswalks. This is currently in the design phase with completion expected in 2026. 

“We received approximately $58 million in the first round and $30 million in the second round which have been designated for our ATMP roads,” said Emery Molnar, who has worked with LAX on projects such as the North Terminal Inline Baggage Screening, Delta T5, Delta T5 Landside Improvements and Westfield Concessions as well as T1, T2 and T3 airside developments.  

Port of Oakland  

The Port of Oakland currently has several RFPs coming up over the next few years. These include:  

For 2023 (some of these are advertised now):  

-Taxiway Whiskey (W) Rehab Phase I construction, $14.4 million  

-Prime builder for restroom rehab construction, $25 million  

-On call planning consulting service, $5-$8 million  

-On call sanitary sewer design: $3 million 

-Sustainability Management Plan consultant services, $2-$3 million  

-Energy audit, $1 million  

-Airport perimeter Dike Phase 2, Seismic construction, $30 - $40 million  

-Substation construction, $35 - $40 million  

Upcoming projects for 2024 – 2025 include more than $77 million projects all of which are expected to move forward with procurement efforts with the release of the first RFP in first quarter, 2024.  

“We have a growing capital program focusing on upgrading aging infrastructure and improving customer amenities” emphasizes Joan Zatopek, Aviation Planning and Development Manager who currently oversees the eight-member team in planning, funding and managing the Aviation Capital Program which averages $100 million annually. “We’ll be using some of our BIL funding for the Airport Perimeter Dike seismic upgrades retrofit, which is scheduled to bid later this year.” 

Ontario International Airport  

Ontario has divided their projects down as follows:  


-$8 million Airport Drive Reconstruction project 

-$19 million Avion Realignment & Reconstruction project  

-$40 million runway program  

-$6 million terminal roof replacement  


-$21 million parking lot improvement  

-$7 million baggage system controls  

-$7 million chillers & cooling tower replacements  

-$2.7 million preconditioned air units  

One question from the audience centered on breaking into the industry, starting with some of the smaller jobs as an entry point.  

“We’re about to run an advertisement for a job order contract that would be an opportunity for some smaller projects, but multiple times over,” said Michelle Brantley, who oversees the capital improvement projects and improvements at Ontario International Airport. “Keep an eye out for this list for smaller jobs that may serve as an entry point.”  

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) 

As SFO wraps up its $7.3B capital program, it is preparing to launch several new projects which are being funded from various sources from airport bonds, AIP grants, and BIL (competitive and formula-based) funds. These short-term projects will be followed by a new major capital program in 2024 to address SFO’s replacement and growth in the next 10 years. SFO leadership is currently considering project priorities that range from gate requirements, support facility replacements, parking and roadway improvement, infrastructure improvements, and sustainability/resiliency efforts. The short-term construction project announcements include:  

-BIL airport terminal grant (competitive) – Using the 2023 $31M funds received for International Terminal re-roofing, water-proofing, and new solar panels (CM/GC method of delivery complaint with the FAA requirements) 

-BIL formula-based allocation (guaranteed) – SFO received $50M per year for the first 3 years based on 2019 enplanement number. In 2023 $150M funds will be used for Advanced Waste Treatment and Recycled Water Distribution project (Progressive Design-Build method of delivery to be used, that FAA will follow closely and learn from) 

The West Field Redevelopment Program three progressive design-build RFPs slated for 2023 include: 

-Q2 2023 - Eight-story, 1,100 staff parking garage, AirTrain connectivity, utility upgrades and demolition of existing structures for contractor staging, employee parking and aircraft RON parking.

-Q2 2023 - Phase 1 includes over 350,000 sq ft cargo/warehouse in two facilities and under 20,000 sq. ft. (about four times the area of a basketball court) for GSE (ground services equipment repair/maintenance) facility along with adjacent aircraft RON parking and taxiway improvements. 

-Q4 2023 – Eleven-story multi-tenant tower, utility upgrades, AirTrain connectivity, roadway improvements, and employee amenities program. 

“At SFO, we believe delivering a project on time and on budget isn’t the only measure of success,” emphasized Nupur Sinha, Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs for the airport. “Because most aviation projects require a long planning, funding, design, and construction timeline, we realize it is key to remain flexible and adaptable. Therefore, we focus on learning from our stakeholder, design, and construction partners during the Progressive Design-Build delivery process, to co-create projects goals and objections, that meaningfully serve our guests, employees and the planet.”

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