Hoeven: With Terminal Expansion, Hector International to be the Best Airport From Minneapolis to Seattle

Senator Outlines Efforts to Secure $25 Million in Funding to Date & Fulfill Federal Cost Share for Fargo Airport Project, Working to Address ATC Shortage

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today helped break ground on Hector International Airport’s Terminal Expansion Project. The nearly $200 million project includes expanding the current terminal building to nine gates, an apron expansion and a new parking garage with an elevated walkway.

As a member of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is working to fulfill the project’s federal cost share, having secured $25 million for the effort to date. This includes an initial $10 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded earlier this year, as well as $15 million from programs like the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which Hoeven works to fund each year through annual appropriations legislation. The funding follows Hoeven:

  • In November, hosting a meeting in Washington between FAA Associate Administrator for Airports Shannetta Griffin and members of the Fargo Airport Authority to advance progress on the terminal expansion project.
  • Leading the delegation in making the case to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for Hector International’s project.
    • Hoeven and the delegation cited the tremendous growth in the region, increased activity at the airport and the need for updates and expansions to ensure the facility can meet the community’s needs into the future.

“With this terminal expansion project, Hector International will be the best airport from Minneapolis to Seattle,” said Hoeven. “For more than two decades, we’ve worked to build the Fargo-Moorhead region into an engine of innovation and economic growth. Our efforts have resulted in a dynamic, expanding community, and in order to keep up this pace, we need updated infrastructure that can meet the growing demands of residents and businesses. With $25 million in federal funding already announced, we will continue working to fulfill the federal cost share and help make this important effort a reality. At the same time, we are working to address key issues affecting air travel around the country, particularly the shortage of qualified air traffic controllers. The good news is that we’re leveraging the expertise of UND to help meet this need and ensure that all airports across the country have access to the ATC staffing they need to maintain safety and efficiency.”

Following the groundbreaking, Hoeven toured Hector International’s Air Traffic Control tower, where he discussed his efforts to address the shortage of air traffic controllers (ATC) and ensure adequate staffing for increasingly busy facilities like Fargo’s airport. To this end, Hoeven:

  • Secured measures in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, which recently passed the Senate, to improve ATC hiring and staffing.
    • This includes legislation Hoeven cosponsored that requires the FAA to use a more accurate staffing model developed by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization.
    • The bill also sets an updated minimum hiring target for new air traffic controllers.
  • Is working to establish the University of North Dakota (UND) as the one of the first universities in the nation where ATC program graduates can move directly into the workforce rather than attending the FAA’s ATC Academy in Oklahoma.
    • To advance UND’s application, Hoeven made the case to FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker and Secretary Buttigieg for UND to lead the way in this new initiative, stressing the university’s position as a world leader in aviation research, education and training.
    • The application period for the program opened in April and will continue on a rolling basis, with UND planning to implement the program during the spring 2025 semester.