McALLEN — Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, delivered an oversized check for $10.7 million to city leaders Monday that will help expand the terminal at McAllen-Miller International Airport and improve security.
The grant offers — $4.3 million from the Federal Aviation Administration and $6.4 million from the Transportation Security Administration — will partially fund airport improvements. Cuellar presented a check for the combined amount during Monday’s commission meeting.
“For somebody who has to fly up to Washington every week and come back down, I know exactly why that’s so important,” Cuellar said.
McAllen-Miller’s planned terminal expansion would add a gate, bringing the total to six, but more importantly, the project would add 52,000 square feet to the cramped post-security seating area. Busy summer flight schedules already strain the airport’s seating capacity.
The FAA grant will help cover a sterilizer and steam generator necessary for some international flights, and the terminal expansion project. The TSA grant will help fund an inspection system for checked baggage that’s part of the expansion plan.
Mayor Richard Cortez thanked Cuellar for helping to secure the funding.
“I want to tell you that there were many concerns when we heard that, possibly, an individual from Laredo was going to come to McAllen and represent us,” Cortez said.
“But they sent a very professional, very well-qualified, very dedicated public servant, Henry Cuellar, who has done a tremendous job not only for Laredo, but for us down here, as evidenced by all the work he’s done,” Cortez said.
Dave Hendricks covers McAllen and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at (956) 683-4452.