DENVER (KDVR) — FOX31 spoke with a federal official about a billion-dollar grant given to dozens of airports around the nation. DIA is getting about $60 million from that grant.

So what does this mean for travelers at Denver International Airport?

Shannetta Griffin is the FAA’s associate administrator for airports. She oversees all programs related to airport safety and grants, including that $1 billion grant from last year’s infrastructure bill. This is a major shot in the arm for airports and travelers around the country and here in Denver.

Griffin said this type of funding comes once in a lifetime.

“This is very significant for an airport the size of Denver because they’re anticipating a capacity of 100 million annual passengers,” Griffin said.

The bill aims to improve terminals and make modern upgrades in order to better the experience for travelers and modernize 85 airports, including DIA.

“This approximately $1 million that we are giving out this year are going to help airports build terminals that are sustainable, give access to disadvantaged communities, provide ADA access, and also making sure that there’s competition being provided at these airports, Griffin explained. She said this money is just part of the distribution, one totaling $5 billion over five years.

Denver airport to get new baggage system

DIA officials say the money will go to improve a baggage system, now at the end of its life at more than 20 years old. It’ll take five years to finish and will help ensure a smooth check-in process for passengers.

“This system is really going to help the passengers to see the efficiency, a greater efficiency in the way that that system operates,” Griffin said.

According to the White House, no U.S. airports rank in the top 25 airports worldwide. Officials are hoping this move changes that.

Here’s a statement from DIA officials about this grant:

“We are excited to receive this grant money from the FAA, which will help us replace portions of our baggage system where TSA screens bags before the luggage is transported to the aircraft. The existing infrastructure has been in place for more than 20 years and is near the end of its life.

The new equipment will be more energy efficient and have the ability to process bags faster, allowing DEN to accommodate future passenger growth. Currently, DEN screens 12,000 bags per hour and the system runs nearly all day, making it essential for DEN to upgrade the equipment and provide a safe and efficient system for TSA and our airlines partners.

Although the upgrades will be out of public view, they are critical to the operation of the baggage system and will help ensure a smooth check-in process for passengers. The work will take approximately five years to complete as DEN must upgrade the equipment in small sections in order to meet the operational needs of our airlines and passengers.

As DEN prepares for 100 million passengers in the next 8-10 years, upgrades and improvements to the airport’s existing infrastructure will be essential. These grant funds will make a significant impact on our progress towards improving our infrastructure and preparing for the future.”

Denver International Airport