For Immediate Release

September 24, 2012
Contact: Tony Molinaro or Elizabeth Cory
Phone: (847) 294-7427 (Tony)/(847) 294-7849 (Elizabeth)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a $1.4 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant to purchase equipment that will help reduce emissions at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

“This funding will help improve air quality by reducing or eliminating the need for airplanes to run their auxiliary power units while parked at the gate,” said Secretary LaHood. “These types of investments are an important part of making sure that air transportation is as environmentally friendly as possible."

The FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant will fund the purchase of low-emission airport pre-conditioned air units and 400 Hertz solid-state ground power units for six gates. This equipment will be used to provide electrical power and cooling to aircraft parked at gates, eliminating the need to run fossil-fueled auxiliary power units. This project is part of the FAA’s Voluntary Airport Low-Emission (VALE) program.

"The FAA encourages airlines and airports to find creative ways to reduce aviation’s impact on the environment,'' said Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

VALE is designed to reduce all sources of airport ground emissions. Created in 2004, the program helps airport sponsors meet their air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act. Through VALE, airport sponsors can use AIP funds and Passenger Facility Charges to finance low-emission vehicles, refueling and recharging stations, gate electrification, and other airport air quality improvements.

In fiscal year 2012, the FAA will provide VALE grants for five low-emission projects. Since 2005, the FAA has funded 57 low-emission projects at 33 airports, which represents a total investment of $146 million in clean airport technology. That amount includes $116 million in federal grants and $30 million in local airport matching funds.

Through VALE, airports are reducing ozone emissions by approximately 320 tons per year, which is equivalent to removing 17,600 cars and trucks off the road annually. VALE is funded through AIP.

For more information about the program, including a list of eligible airports and projects, go to the VALE website:

AIP provides $3.35 billion in annual funding for airport improvement projects that are vital to maintaining the safety, capacity, and environmental stewardship of our nation’s airports.  More than 3,300 airports are eligible for AIP grants benefiting commercial passengers, cargo operations, and general aviation activities throughout the nation.