The expansion will create more waiting room space for passengers and will consolidate the two Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at the airport into one station that can handle more volume, reducing long waits at peak travel times.
The project has been on the drawing board for several years but lacked funding until last Friday, when U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced the award.
"That was a very big milestone for us to actually construct this project," Longo said.
The airport had worked with U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Federal Aviation Administration officials in New England for the past six months to be a contender for the Airport Improvement Program grant.
The 18,000-square-foot expansion will grow the existing terminal by about 25 percent, Longo said. The new section will be built at the southern end of the terminal and will take over space now occupied by a small parking area.
The new TSA station will be located on the first floor and with better design, it will handle 800 people an hour at peak, Longo said. The existing two checkpoints can only handle a combined 600 people at peak.
That's a problem. With the advent of larger planes flying into BTV over the past few years and many flights taking off back-to-back early in the morning, TSA has struggled to move passengers through security during rush hour. Long lines and missed flights are a growing problem.
The upcoming terminal expansion will provide a more lasting TSA improvement, Longo said.
The airport will issue a request for proposals to hire a construction manager for the project in January and seek permits from the City of South Burlington's Development Review Board early next year as well.
It could be a busy year for construction at the airport. Builders there are expected to break ground in March on a new 108-room Fairfield Inn by Marriott hotel. That project is fully permitted, according to Longo.
The $10 million terminal grant won't quite cover the estimated $11 million tab for the expansion. Surcharges known as passenger ticketing fees will fund the remaining $1 million, Longo said.