Logan Airport improvements take center stage in Massport’s $1.3 billion spending plan
The Port Authority of Massachusetts Board of Trustees on Thursday unanimously approved a three-year, $1.3 billion spending plan that invests about $300 million in new projects such as road optimization, runway rehabilitation and zero carbon initiatives.
While the majority of the capital investment plan is focused on ongoing or completed projects, the new spending Massport intends to make comes as passenger volumes for Logan International Airport and Transit Cargo volumes at Boston’s Conley Container Terminal are trending up from a year ago, but still remain below pre-pandemic levels.
Three-quarters of new spending over the next three years will be for aviation and repair projects, with $51 million earmarked for structural improvements to Logan’s Terminal B upper roadway. At Conley Container Terminal, the quasi-public agency plans to spend $5 million and use an additional $20 million in federal grants to create additional container storage capacity.
Massport’s director of capital programs and environmental affairs, Luciana Burdi, said Logan Airport takes a prominent part of the capital investment plan with about $1 billion going to the airport.
Often, Burdi said, capital investment plans allocate more money to the first year than to subsequent ones. But this plan, she said, spreads funding evenly over the three years “which highlights the health of our financial organization.”
There are risks that could impact spending over the next three years – COVID-19 persists, inflation is on the rise, supply chain disruptions lengthen project lead times and economic sanctions restrict access to specific materials.
“A lot of them we are all fully aware of and they are clearly things that we pay attention to on a day-to-day basis,” said administration and finance director John Pranckevicius. “As we have done in the past, if we find that any of these things will have a material impact on our financial plan, we will obviously come back to the board and make recommendations on adjustments.”
The three airports that Massport oversees – Logan Airport, Worcester Regional Airport and Hanscom Field – are all in line for runway maintenance and improvements.
At Worcester Regional, a Runway 29 rehabilitation project will cost $18 million while a further $7 million will be used over the next three fiscal years to rehabilitate Runway 5-23 at Hanscom. Safety upgrades and maintenance of Logan Airport’s runway 15R-33L will cost $40 million.
“We have a huge airfield program coming over the next three years,” Burdi said. “These three projects are really taking place in the spring and summer of 2023.”
Approximately 2.9 million passengers passed through Logan Airport in March, down 17% from the same month in 2019. In the first quarter of 2022, the airport handled approximately 6.5 million passengers, a increase over last year but still 27% lower than 2019. levels.
Pranckevicius said passenger activity at Logan Airport is improving and is expected to reach 80% of pre-pandemic levels in fiscal year 2023 and 90% of pre-pandemic levels in fiscal year 2024. .
Aviation Director Edward Freni said passenger numbers are expected to increase over the next two weeks as people arrive in Massachusetts for the Boston Marathon and travel for the April school vacation week. .
“In fact, yesterday we handled almost 56,000 outbound passengers and today we believe we could reach the level of 60,000 that we haven’t seen since 2019,” he said.
Last month, two consultants laid out a 10-year, $1 billion investment plan for Massport to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2031. As part of the plan, the quasi-public agency should consider reducing soil emissions. service facilities and airport traffic.
New projects over the next three fiscal years aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing all airfield lights with LEDs, installing charging stations to promote the use of electrical support equipment for ground and generating renewable energy on site.
The investment plan also provides $16 million for the purchase of eight upgraded electric buses for use on the MBTA’s Silver Line. Burdi said the buses will produce zero emissions when operating on the Logan Airport campus.
“We are working with the MBTA to ensure that these buses meet the technical requirements in terms of luggage racks and facilitate the experience that we are looking for for our passengers,” Burdi said.