Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Friday announced that the Santa Barbara Airport has been awarded a nearly $1.5 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program to continue construction of a new terminal building.

“I am so pleased by the continued investment in the modernization of the Santa Barbara airport,” Capps said in a statement. “Construction of a new terminal will allow the airport to better accommodate airline passengers and improve safety, while creating construction jobs.”

“We are delighted to receive this FAA grant, which will help fund construction of our new airline terminal,” airport director Karen Ramsdell said. “The FAA Airport Improvement Program provides funding for construction of vital airport facilities at no cost to the local taxpayers and helps create jobs.”

The grant will help fund the replacement of the existing terminal building that was last expanded in 1976. Since then, the number of passengers who use the airport every year has increased to more than 850,000 from 398,000. The grant also finances safety upgrades to the current terminal building.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.