Alaska Delegation Welcomes $21 Million BUILD Grant for Anchorage International Airport

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young (all R-Alaska) today thanked Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao for awarding a $21 million Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant to the Alaska Energy Authority to construct a 190,000 square foot climate-controlled cold storage facility at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (TSAIA). The Alaska congressional delegation wrote a letter to Secretary Chao in May advocating for TSAIA to receive the BUILD grant. 

“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked hard to secure funding to support the BUILD Grants program. The positive impacts it has had on Alaska over the years are significant. I join the rest of the Alaska Delegation in applauding today’s announcement and thank Secretary Chao for investing in the future of our state,” said Senator Murkowski. “This new transfer facility will improve shipping capabilities, strengthen Alaska’s supply chain security, and provide much-needed jobs for Alaskans. With Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport having recently been recorded among the busiest in the world—this news could not be more timely.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how important it is for our country to have secure and reliable supply chains, and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport has served as an indispensable link in these global chains for decades,” said Senator Sullivan. “To better meet the needs of our nation and the expected demands of global commerce, this critical piece of infrastructure is due for a dramatic expansion in storage capacity, particularly the ability to store cold freight during all seasons. I thank Secretary Chao and the Transportation Department for recognizing the benefits of having TSAIA serve as more than a ‘gas and go’ hub, which will help us better secure America’s distribution networks and grow jobs and economic opportunities for Alaskans.”

“I am very pleased to report that the Department of Transportation is making critical investments in the State of Alaska,” said Congressman Young. “Our state is geographically unique, and Alaskans know how important it is to ensure that temperature-sensitive goods, foods, and other items can safely and effectively make their way to Alaska and our rural communities. In April, the Anchorage Airport was recorded as the busiest in the world, which makes reliable cold storage facilities even more important for the global movement of cargo. I am proud to have worked with Senators Murkowski and Sullivan in support of this project, and am grateful to the Department of Transportation and Secretary Chao for listening to us and making this significant investment in our state. As former Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am acutely aware of Alaska’s infrastructure needs. In Congress, I will continue advocating so that Alaskans can utilize safe and reliable infrastructure for generations to come.”


Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is one of the busiest cargo airports in the world due, in large part, to its central position on the shortest flying routes between the United States and the Far East. Air cargo carriers are able to transport freight more efficiently and cost-effectively by stopping along this route to refuel at TSAIA.

Although roughly two-thirds of cargo freighters and half of the total cargo flown between the U.S. and Asia transit through TSAIA, only a small fraction of the cargo ever leaves the aircraft for storage or sorting at the airport itself. Anchorage currently has limited capacity for cold storage, causing many carriers to depend on other states for such facilities. 

The proposed cold storage facility, and other planned expansions, would increasingly enable air cargo carriers to both refuel at TSAIA and store or sort freight for shipment directly to more destinations, rather than adding a stop for sorting at a second domestic airport. 

The cold storage facility is the first phase of a planned 715,000 square-foot cargo transfer and storage facility at TSAIA.

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