Transportation secretary says concourse expansion will save money in the long run

ATLANTA — One of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s busiest concourses is about to get a $40 million makeover through the new federal infrastructure law.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot spoke exclusively with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigeig on Friday about what travelers can expect to see.

Buttigeig said the funds are part of a nationwide effort to make airports more efficient.

Roosevelt Gilbert owns a barber shop located in the airport’s main terminal. He would like to locate out on one of the concourses.

“As 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 the narrow Concourse D.


The project will widen the concourse, improve gate areas and bathrooms and make it more handicapped accessible.

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

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

Critics say pumping that much money into the economy is only making inflation worse, but Buttigieg insists not doing infrastructure projects is more costly. He said projects like this need to be for the future, not just the present.

“Even when you are spending and investing, that’s actually going to help bring prices down through more efficient, smoother movement of people and goods throughout the country and throughout our system,” Buttigeig said.

When Concourse D is renovated, Gilbert said he may want to move there if he can.

“They may not be able to get to their barber wherever they are, and coming to the airport, we would supply that need,” Gilbert said.

The Concourse D project is expected to take about five years to complete.