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Third busiest airport in Oregon gets much-needed air traffic control tower

The Bend Municipal Airport (BDN) will be getting its first air traffic control tower thanks to a $4.8 million Connect Oregon grant awarded to the City of Bend. Oregon is home to 97 public-use airports, with its top five busiest being Portland International (PDX), Hillsboro (HIO), Bend, Troutdale (TTD), and Redmond (RDM). Bend Municipal ranks third of the state's airports with the most traffic but is the only airport in the top five without an air traffic control tower. Bend Municipal Airport sees approximately 141,000 takeoffs and landings each year. "This is much-needed funding for a critical project at the airport," said Bend Municipal Airport Manager Tracy Williams. According to the City of Bend's website, the air traffic control tower will bring many benefits to the airport, including the separation and sequencing of aircraft and a reduction in conflict with air traffic from local airports like Redmond, Prineville, and Madras. Additionally, the city says that more organized traffic flows at Bend Municipal could reduce fuel use and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The Oregon Department of Transportation's Connect Oregon is an initiative established by the 2005 state legislature to invest in non-highway modes of transportation, such as aviation, rail and marine. Nearly $46 million was made available by Connect Oregon for infrastructure projects. Out of 603 applications, 21 were awarded, including the City of Bend's, which was the largest request. The $4.8 million requested by the city will cover over half of the estimated total project cost, including design and construction. The city is seeking federal funding for the remaining $2.7 million balance. The control tower is expected to be operational by late 2025.
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