Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced Tuesday that the Santa Barbara Airport will receive a $700,000 federal grant to update its existing master plan.

The grant, awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program, will be used to identify future needs at the airport and maintain its ability to serve the community. The AIP is funded exclusively by fees paid by airline travelers, not taxpayer dollars.

“The Santa Barbara Airport contributes millions of dollars to our local economy and plays a key role in encouraging economic growth in our region,” Capps said. “This federal funding will ensure that our airport has the resources to identify future needs and is able to continue serving our local community — bringing travelers and business leaders from all over the world to the Central Coast.”

“We are pleased to receive this grant, which will be used to fund the next Master Plan for the Santa Barbara Airport,” Director Karen Ramsdell said. “Through the vision of Congress many decades ago, the Airport Improvement Program was established to fund infrastructure critical to the nation’s air transportation system. The program was, and continues, to be funded by the system users, not the general taxpayer.

“In the past 10 years, the Santa Barbara Airport has benefited in receiving over $65 million in AIP grants that have funded airfield safety improvements and contributed to the funding of the airport’s new airline terminal. Santa Barbara Airport is an important economic asset of the Santa Barbara County region, and the projects funded by AIP grants provide jobs in the engineering and construction industries, material suppliers and ancillary support businesses.”

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