More Runways And Airports

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For years, pilots have complained that it's not the skies that are crowded -- it's the runways. The FAA is catching up a bit with a slew of new airports and expansion projects. St. George, Utah, one of the nation's fastest-growing metro areas, will get a new $17-million airport, the FAA said this week. "Aviation is about more than just airplanes -- it's about providing the kind of economic connections communities need to thrive," FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said. On Tuesday, Blakey said the FAA will commission six airfield projects, including four new runways, a runway extension, and an airfield reconfiguration, by the fall of 2008. These projects will accommodate almost 300,000 additional annual operations, decrease the average delay per operation by two minutes, and will cost the FAA about $2.4 billion. Since 1999, 12 new runways have opened among the 35 busiest airports, Blakey said.