PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Members of Illinois’ congressional delegation announced Thursday that the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport will receive $15 million in federal funding to construct the airport’s new Air Traffic Control Tower.

A press release on behalf of U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) and U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said that the Democrats secured language in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that would make Peoria’s current air traffic control tower eligible for renovation.

“Support for a much-needed air traffic control tower at Peoria International means Illinoisans’ safety is being prioritized at the federal level,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to see that the FAA heeded our urgent call to replace the outdated tower and, as a result, this important travel hub will be able to operate more efficiently for years to come.”

Peoria International Airport’s current Air Traffic Control Tower was built in 1959 and needs renovation in order to meet current building codes and ADA requirements. It is the second oldest tower still in service in the United States.

The air traffic control tower in Peoria is older than the Federal Aviation Administration, and its condition has been rated as one of the worst in the nation,” said Bustos. “The community is overdue for an upgrade and thanks to President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, they’ll finally receive one. I have been proud to work tirelessly alongside Senators Durbin and Duckworth to deliver this important federal investment in our local airport, and I look forward to the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport continuing to grow and thrive for generations to come.”

Republican Rep. Darin LaHood (IL-18) joined Bustos, Durbin, and Duckworth in a letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in April 2022 in support of Peoria International Airport’s application for funding.

“The Peoria International Airport is a key transportation hub for our community in central Illinois, and home to Illinois’ 182nd Airlift Wing. A new air traffic control tower is long overdue, and improvements made with this funding will ensure the airport remains operable, continues to modernize, and avoids unnecessary disruptions,” said Rep. LaHood. “I was proud to advocate on behalf of PIA’s application, and I will continue to be a champion for the airport in Congress.”

Lawmakers said that this improvement will enhance the functionality at Peoria’s largest airport.

“After urging FAA to replace the tower, I’m thrilled to announce we successfully secured these essential funds. The new tower will improve service, safety, and efficiency at Peoria International Airport, which is a critical economic engine and transportation link for Central Illinois,” said Durbin.

A provision included in the IIJA by Bustos, Durbin and Duckworth allowed FAA grants to be used to upgrade air traffic control towers owned by airports, which have traditionally been left out of consideration for FAA funding.