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Transport Secretary says concourse expansion will save money in the long run

One of the busiest concourses at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is about to undergo a $40 million makeover thanks to the new federal infrastructure law.

Channel 2’s Richard Elliot spoke exclusively with US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigeig on Friday about what travelers can expect to see.

Buttigeig said the funds were part of a national effort to make airports more efficient.

Roosevelt Gilbert has a hair salon located in the main airport terminal. He would like to sit in one of the halls.

“When people travel, they always want to look their best,” Gilbert said.

The federal government is pumping $40 million into the airport to make huge improvements to cramped Concourse D.


The project will widen the concourse, improve boarding areas and bathrooms, and make it more accessible for people with disabilities.

“I come to this thinking America should have the best, and right now the hard truth is that we don’t have the best,” Buttigeig told Elliot in an exclusive interview.

The last time Channel 2 Action News spoke with Buttigeig when he was 50 feet in a hole as the airport extended the length of the plane train tunnel to make these trains more efficient.

Critics say pumping so much money into the economy only makes inflation worse, but Buttigieg insists it costs more to not do infrastructure projects. He said projects like this should be for the future, not just the present.

“Even when you’re spending and investing, it will actually help lower prices through more efficient and smoother movement of people and goods across the country and throughout our system,” Buttigeig said.

When Concourse D is renovated, Gilbert said he might want to move there if he could.

“They may not be able to get to their hairdresser wherever they are, and by coming to the airport, we will meet that need,” Gilbert said.

The Concourse D project is expected to last approximately five years.